For Immediate Release
This press release includes audio
PR #:1400032
Date Issued:Apr 17, 2014 - 9:16am

Ten Washoe County Detention Facility Inmates complete food safety training

CONTACT:Tami Cummings
Community Relations
911 Parr Blvd Reno, NV 89512
Office (775) 785-6205

Ten Washoe County Detention Facility inmates just completed a nationally recognized food service safety course aimed at providing them with skills that will help them find employment after they are released.

The 10 inmates will be awarded National Restaurant Association ServSafe® certificates during a ceremony at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 18, 2014. A former offender who now works in the restaurant industry will be the keynote speaker. Any media who would like to attend the ceremony are asked to meet in the main lobby of the Sheriff’s Office at 911 Parr Boulevard at 9:30 a.m.

The inmates earned these certificates by successfully completing an intense two day 16-hour food safety training program as part of a re-entry program sponsored by the Sheriff's Office. The program provides inmates with skills to aid them in life after release, thereby reducing the potential for further criminal activity once they are back in the community.

“When we provide inmates with the skills they need to find steady employment after they are released, we help to reduce crime, decrease recidivism and save on the overall costs of law enforcement and detention facility operations,” Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Detention Programs Coordinator Brooke Howard said.

ServSafe® is the industry’s premiere food safety education and training program recognized and accepted by more federal, state and local health jurisdictions than any other food safety training program. The program covers topics such as microorganisms that cause foodborne illness breakouts, cross-contamination and allergens, proper food safety and storage, and cleaning and sanitizing.

Classes are taught by Pete Allen, a ServSafe® certified instructor.  Upon completion of course instruction, proctored exams are administered. A minimum score of 75 percent is required to receive certification. Inmates who pass the test receive ServSafe® certificates, which are good for up to five years. Accredited by the American National Standards Institute Conference for Food Protection ServSafe® training and certification is accepted in all states.

Prior to enrollment in the ServSafe® training program, potential candidates were required to go through a screening process which included a review of the programs rules and expectations as well as the candidate’s education level, employment history, criminal history, individual goals and self-motivation.

All costs related to the training are paid by the inmates through the Inmate Commissary Fund.

This is the first time the ServSafe® program has been offered at the Washoe County Detention Facility. Because of the success of this initial effort, the Sheriff’s Office will start offering the program four times per year. Students often continue their education while in custody, by participating in one of the many self-help, life skills, job skills and/or General Education Development programs offered at the Detention Facility.

“The Washoe County Detention Facility has continued to expand its Programs Unit to give inmates opportunities for effective rehabilitative experience while incarcerated,” Howard said. “We understand in order to reduce the likelihood of continued criminal behavior we must educate offenders and provide them with the proper skills to become productive members of our society.”

Employers who hire these former offenders are not only eligible to receive federal tax credits but also have the benefit of getting qualified workers who are grateful for the second chance.

The Sheriff’s Office Alternatives to Incarceration Unit provides programs that help inspire inmates to pursue and achieve attainable goals that contribute to the betterment of themselves, and the community. Inmate participation in these programs has led to a reduction in recidivism, a reduction in the amount of money spent by tax payers to house inmates, and a reduction in the cycle of criminal behavior for the next generation. For more information, contact Detention Programs Coordinator Brooke Howard at (775) 785-4244.


The Washoe County Sheriff's Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Michael Haley is the 25th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Regional Intelligence Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process and traditional street patrols.

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