LONOKE COUNTY, Ark. – A former Lonoke County criminal that has made a lifestyle change, hopes to help others with his story.
In January of 2016, working as an auto mechanic trustee for the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, Jeff Hamrick made headlines for stealing a pellet gun, meth pipe and the phone he used to take photos.
After these acts, he made the decision to turn his life around after being accepted in the PACT program with the Lonoke County jail.
PACT stands for ‘Peers Achieving Collaborative Treatment’ as they fight prison reentry.
“I had made a really bad name for the Lonoke County Sheriff’s office in 2016,” Hamrick said.
After being in and out of prison six times and having 25 felony convictions on his record, Jeff was ready to change his life.
He has been clean from drugs for over a year and will graduate from the PACT program on May 25.
It’s going to be one of the first accomplishments that I’ve ever made in my life,” Hamrick said.
Detective Tonya Soule with the LCSO says inmates spend 4 months behind bars and then they’re sent to a recovery home.
Soule says the program has about a 70 percent graduation and success rate.
“It’s not just about being clean and sober, it’s about being a productive member of society,” Soule said.
Hamrick now pays taxes, has a registered car and a dream job as a mechanic, just like his duty as a trustee.
“It’s phenomenal, I’ve never lived a life like this,” Hamrick said. “I’ve never been clean for this long.”
Hamrick says restoring relationships he ruined, finding God, and being there for his son has given him solace.
“I am breaking a generational curse for my kid,” he said before saying a prayer with his 9-year-old son.
With a trail of mug shots to remind him of his past, Hamrick is determined and focused on not just going back to that lifestyle, but helping others see the light.
“The PACT program graduation is just the beginning to my new lifestyle,” Hamrick said.
In his fight to continue to be a better citizen and help others recover, he posts his journey on social media. And he is all smiles because one of his most recent TikTok videos received over 100 thousand views.