Culinary Arts Program prepares future taxpayers

Inmates watch as one of DCSO’s culinary instructors, Patrick Swett, teaches a cooking class.

Inmates watch as one of DCSO’s culinary instructors, Patrick Swett, teaches a cooking class.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) in cooperation with the Metro Public Health Department recently administered the Metro food handler’s test to 52 inmates, 36 males and 16 females, with a pass rate of 100%. Through the course, inmate students learned how to achieve safe and sanitary food handling practices and are much more likely to obtain employment in the food industry once they are released from jail.

“Our goal is for offenders, upon release, to become taxpayers and not continue to be a tax burden. If we can get them certified in areas such as food service and make them employable, the likelihood of them coming back to jail greatly reduces,” Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said. “Our employees and community volunteers work tirelessly to see this happens and we appreciate the commitment to ensure offender success when they walk out the jail doors.”

The food handler’s class is part of the overall culinary arts program at the DCSO. While incarcerated, inmates can also obtain ServSafe, a food and beverage safety training and certification, as well as participate in cooking classes and the inmate food garden project. Inmates planted a variety of fruits and vegetables in the spring and plan to harvest later in the summer. All items will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank.

To volunteer your services to the DCSO, contact Director of Community Relations, Thomas Hunter, at 615-862-8170 or

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