Detention Center’s SAP participants compete in landscape design

June 04, 2019

Fulton County Judge/Executive Jim Martin and Fulton County Detention Center Jailer Steven Williams recently offered inmates participating in the facility’s substance abuse program the opportunity to design landscape ideas for the medical clinics in Fulton and Hickman.

The substance abuse program, or SAP, offers evidence-based treatment to inmates who have been assessed as having a substance use disorder. The program at Fulton County Detention Center was granted licensure in 2016. Some individuals who complete the program are able to use their certificate of completion toward regaining their driver’s licenses upon release from incarceration. Having a driver’s license increases the likelihood of finding and maintaining employment once these individuals return to society. Further, those offenders who are employed are less likely to return to criminal behaviors and, ultimately, jail or prison.

To determine the landscape styles and ideas that should be implemented at the clinics, a competition was held in which SAP participants were divided into groups and asked to create landscape designs for both clinics. Each group submitted their innovative, unique design ideas, but only one group’s designs were chosen.

SAP participants not only helped design the landscapes for the clinics but those clients who are most advanced in the program were asked to bring those ideas to life by planting the trees, shrubs, and flowers at the clinics. With direction from the facility’s maintenance supervisor, John Elliott, SAP participants also built custom benches for the clinics’ patients and their families to use while waiting for appointments.

In addition to participating in therapy groups and relapse prevention classes, those in SAP attend classes related to parenting skills, anger management, and social reintegration, all things that can go a long way in helping these individuals to not reoffend. Something else taught in SAP that many individuals either never learned as youth or have forgotten is that it is critical to know how to have fun and work together without using or selling drugs.

The landscape project served as an example to the SAP clients, of how individuals from various backgrounds can work together to achieve a common goal, laugh and have fun, and remain drug-free the whole time.

According to Kelli Elliott, Clinical Program Director, Fulton County Detention Center, SAP inmates were grateful to volunteer and to be a part of a project involving teamwork and community involvement. “They expressed a great deal of pride and a sense of accomplishment in seeing how their ideas on paper bloomed into something people in the community can enjoy.” She said.