The TJC Sites: Franklin County, Massachusetts

Franklin County, Massachusetts, is a rural county with a population of 72,000 and is located in northwestern Massachusetts. It is the only federally designated rural county in the state.

The Franklin County Jail and House of Correction serves an average daily population of 216 inmates. Its reentry system includes in-jail and transitional programs including a 28-bed minimum-security treatment center in the old jail and a 15-bed reentry house.The sheriff has coordinated efforts with the drug court program and allows those who need intervention to participate in the facility's reentry system and transition back to the community under the supervision of drug court.

Sheriff Chris Donelan calls the Transition from Jail to Community Initiative (TJC) a formalization of the direction he has been steering the Sheriff's Office since his arrival. "This is about what the community has at stake in the successful reintegration of inmates," Donelan said. With TJC, Sheriff's Office partners with the community to help released inmates find jobs, housing, counseling, and substance abuse support; the community becomes more involved with the Sheriff's Office in direct reentry work.

"We are very honored to have been chosen," Donelan said. "We were chosen because we displayed the leadership, vision, and culture to achieve positive reintegration outcomes. Now we have a partner to help us achieve concrete intervention programs."

As a part of the national TJC network, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office has access to professional development and training opportunities for employees. The network also shares information and support for implementing new programs and uses successful strategies from across the country. "We have an opportunity to work with others in the field to grow, learn, and improve," Donelan said. "They asked us to be open to change and cutting-edge in our ideas. We can handle that."

For further information, contact Candace Angier at candace.angier@fcs.state.ma.us.