Brandon House


Brandon House is a Polk County inmate who has taken advantage of the county’s partnership with Heart for Winter Haven. He is pictured with Jonathan Winfree and Brad Beatty, both of Heart for Winter Haven.


In law enforcement, it is frustrating to see the same people returning to jail time after time. Too often, a life of crime is a way of life.

We’re proud of a new partnership between the Polk County Sheriff’s Office partners and Heart for Winter Haven, a local non-profit, that creates positive change in the lives of inmates at our South County Jail through “Jobs for Life,” a faith-based job training and placement program.

It’s a valuable partnership that is making progress.

Our goal is to provide an opportunity for inmates to succeed once they are released from jail. The program helps inmates improve their self-confidence and gives them a biblical understanding of work. They develop their character and their vocational plan, work on resumes and take part in mock job interviews.

It’s a springboard for the participants, so that they can obtain a job and then provide for themselves and their families after they leave jail.

Jail can be a turning point for an individual — and the Heart for Winter Haven’s Jobs for Life program can show personal value in one’s life, give them an avenue for change and assist them with successful reentry and aftercare once an inmate is released — helping them become a productive and law-abiding citizen.

The program doesn’t stop at the jail exit door — it continues through follow up and mentorships in the community.

The staff and volunteers at Heart for Winter Haven are there to train, encourage and assist these individuals through the process, from start to finish. The program is a key component of the 124 “Job Readiness” classes that were conducted in the Polk County Jail in 2019

When an inmate completes the program, his success doesn’t just stop with a personal win — it’s also a win for the community.

That’s one less person committing crimes, it’s one less person returning to jail and it’s one more person making a positive contribution to society.