(Walhalla, SC)-------------------------------------After two years of restrictions at the Oconee County Detention Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oconee County Detention Center is announcing that outside organizations will be allowed back in the jail for programs and bible study for the inmate population.
According to Kim Rutz, who is the Inmate Programs and Visitation Coordinator, groups will be allowed back in at the discretion of the Detention Center. The groups have not been allowed into the Detention Center due to COVID-19 restrictions as set by the South Carolina Department of Corrections. The restrictions were put in place to protect the inmate population and the Corrections Officers and staff who work inside the Detention Center.
Among the guidelines being issued by the Detention Center according to Mrs. Rutz are that individuals interested in volunteer programs at the Detention Center, whether they are religious, educational or vocational, etc., must submit a written application to the Inmate Programs Coordinator. An interview, a criminal history and background check will be conducted.
Volunteers must be at least 21 years old age and be of good moral character. A picture ID must be presented at the time of arrival and volunteers will have to sign in and sign out. There will be an allotted time for visitation.
All volunteers must go through a power point presentation for training purposes before they are allowed access to the inmate population. The power point will outline other guidelines that volunteers will have to adhere to in order teach or minister to the inmate population.
Mrs. Rutz says that since many people want to volunteer, it may be a good idea to join with an existing group.
All volunteers will be asked to wear masks due to being in close contact with the population per the current South Carolina Department of Corrections requirements; however, there will not be a requirement for a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination in order to have access to the inmate population. If there is an increase in COVID-19 numbers, the Detention Center may have to revert back to COVID-19 protocols.
For further information or questions, volunteers can contact Kim Rutz at 864-718-1094.