New program looking to help Highlands Co. inmates join military

Photo courtesy Highlands County Sheriff's Office.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A new program in Highlands County is looking to give inmates a second chance to turn their lives around.

The program aims to help some inmates get into the Army once they are released from jail. The sheriff’s office says it’s an alternative to sending them back onto the streets and into the environment they were in when they got in trouble.

Inmates who have shown interest in turning their lives around, and shown interest in the military, will be selected for the program.

Photo courtesy Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.

The goal is to get them through some of the pre-qualification steps while they are in jail so they can go through the final steps of being inducted into the military once they’re released.

Some inmates will not be eligible due to their criminal history. Those who are eligible will still need a waiver from the Army before starting the process.

One of the deputies who is spearheading the program, Deputy Scott Waldon, is a veteran. Waldon is one of the deputies inmates will have to prove themselves to in order to be accepted. He says he’s set a high bar.

“They are going to represent my country,” Waldon said. “You can’t do that if you can’t represent yourself.”

Five inmates are already lined up for the program, but deputies are hoping to expand it in the future.

According to the Army, there is no other program like this in the state of Florida.

You can learn more by visiting the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office website.

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