Inmate Programs

The Chatham County Sheriff's Department Inmate Programs area gives inmates the opportunity to address those issues that may have contributed to their criminal behavior and subsequent incarceration.

While incarcerated, eligible inmates have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of therapeutic, educational and literacy programs. These programs are administered by contracted service providers and volunteers.

The Programs Area also facilitates law library sessions for the inmates, provides a book cart service for reading materials, and maintains barbering supplies and services for the inmates. This area is overseen by the Programs Manager and her staff which includes two Programs Coordinators and six interns.

Because we have partnered with various community agencies, continuing treatment and educational opportunities are available for inmates who are released.

Work Release

The Chatham County Sheriff's Department Work Release Program was established November of 2007 under the direction of the late Sheriff Al St. Lawrence as an Operational Division. The principle mission of the Work Release Program is to provide an environment where participants learn to accept responsibility and to engage in meaningful lawful employment.

Qualifications for the Work Release Program:

  • Individuals who are delinquent in child support payments
  • Participants must be recommended by the Courts
  • Has served at least seventy two hours at the Sheriff's Complex
  • No “holds” or retainers from other states, counties, probation, or parole
  • Must not be subject of any active criminal investigation
  • No violent felonies or drug trafficking charges
  • Must pass the medical physical and mental health evaluation given at the Sheriff's Complex


Requirements when accepted into the program:

  • Submit to alcohol and drug screening
  • Must be gainfully employed within thirty days and maintain employment until released by the Courts
  • Case Managers must be allowed to visit work sites
  • Have respect and cooperation with the Sheriff's Department Staff and other participants
  • Follow all rules and regulations for the Sheriff Department
  • Must commit to excellence and to achieve the goals set by the Courts

Sheriff John T. Wilcher and the Chatham County Sheriff's Department Staff are dedicated and committed to the community. We are also committed to building relationships with employers.

The Work Release Program is one out of many programs offered to Detainees that promote discipline, growth, education, and responsibility. We are excited about this valuable program that benefits families and the community.


Basic Life Skills Program

The Basic Life Skills Program offers a variety of skills to inmates that will help them to become productive citizens once released back into the community.

The areas of focus are:

  • Building Self-Esteem
  • Relationships
  • Job Readiness
  • Managing Finances


Substance Abuse

HDH Addiction Services is a Substance Abuse Program that assists with pre-trail and post-trail chemically dependent detainees in developing the skills necessary to lead a chemical free life. We offer a 28 day drug and alcohol program for males and females inside the Chatham County Jail.

During the program our clients receive:

  • Individual Assessments
  • Individualized Services Plans
  • Drug and Alcohol Education
  • 12 Step Study/NA Study
  • Individual Counseling Sessions
  • Group Therapy Sessions
  • Anger management Sessions
  • Weekly Evaluations
  • Referrals to accredited long and short-term treatment programs
  • Activity Therapy

Once clients complete our program they would have gained hope, the necessary recovery skills, parenting skills, and other life improvement skills that will reduce relapse and recidivism.

Hope is here! You've got to Grab it!!!!


Health Issues

The Chatham County Health Department offers the male and female population the opportunity to attend HIV/STD risk reduction education classes. Participation in this program is on voluntary basis. All individuals that participate in the class are eligible for a free HIV test.


GED Program

The Chatham County Detention Center offers detainees the opportunity to acquire a General Educational Development certificate through G.E.T. Skills, a local educational program vendor. This program is available for both female and male detainees. The preparatory portion of the GED program is customized for each participant based upon their educational needs and their ability to progress. Instructors are available to guide this process to a successful outcome for each participant.

Upon successful completion of this program, participants are afforded the opportunity to sit for the GED examinations. Savannah Technical College GED Testing Services hold exams at the detention center four times each year. Participation in the GED program is on a space-available basis with an active waiting list. The program conducts a recognition ceremony for all who successfully pass exams. The detainees are encouraged to continue their education by the State of Georgia, which awards a $500 Hope Scholarship for books and tuition with each GED certificate.

The GED is widely recognized by colleges, universities, training schools, the military, and employers as equivalent to a high school diploma. GED graduates make an average of $385,000 more in their lifetime than people without the GED or without a high school diploma. The greatest benefit from the GED can come to those who use it as a springboard to additional education and training. Particularly important to inmates wanting to break the cycle of crime and incarceration are the additional positive life-choice options the GED presents. This is equally true for the community in general.



  • Two Christian Chaplain dorms dedicated to the spiritual enrichment of Gods people, one curriculum is based on salvation and the other on discipleship
  • The Chaplain team provides Pastoral counseling for the Administration/Staff and the men and women housed in the detention center
  • The Chaplain team serves as a liaison between the unit and the community of local churches
  • Coordinate and preach special services i.e. Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas
  • Meet the spiritual needs of all the men and women in the unit by providing the religious material or applicable clergy to satisfy their request