KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – In Knox County, if you’re sentenced to do time at the Detention Facility, you’re encouraged to not just exist, day in, day out.

We’ve been telling you about programs designed to change lives, and keep inmates from coming back.

We met a young man who says one program, in particular, made a difference.

27-year-old Chris Bolton never thought he’d be comfortable walking alongside a chief with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, but here they are.

This, after Bolton, was in and out of jail for years on a variety of drug and public intoxication charges.

It got so bad he was actually falling asleep in court.

“I’d wake up in the middle of court to Mike, Mike’s my lawyer’s name. ‘You need to get out of here, the judge doesn’t need to see you like this.’ I was nodded off into my lap in the middle of the courtroom,” Bolton told us.

“My last time in here for eight months and a day, and my attorney said, ‘charges won’t stack up if you take ITP and take drug court when you get out.’ “

So Bolton agreed to ITP, the Intensive Treatment Program offered at the Knox County Detention Facility.

We were recently allowed access behind the scenes watching as other inmates dig deep finding out what got them here and ways to avoid going back.

“There’s no yes or no questions,” Bolton says. “They’ll ask you questions like ‘what do you want to be, what do you want to do, where do you want to go, what re the things that you want from life?’ “

Bolton, now released from jail, is just one success story so far this year.
Chief Steve Bravo says 105 have graduated from ITP over the past 12 months.

Of those, he says only 19 have been arrested again and are back in the system.

Something is working.

“I want everyone to know,” Bravo says, “that we do have programs in here that actually change people. I mean, they have to change themselves but we plant seeds and we give them the tools to go out there and change.”

Chris Bolton is grateful that this time, he is embracing the chance to start over.

“I wanted to clean my life up, I wanted a life, I wanted to get a life back,” he says.

About ITP:

  • A minimum of 90 days of treatment
  • Required to purchase an MRT (Moral Reconation Therapy) workbook
  • Addresses drug/alcohol addiction, criminal behavior, and a multitude of other issues
  • An inmate must be sentenced or court-ordered to be eligible for this program
  • This program is eligible for jail credits