The Education Services Section provides quality programs to inmates, equipping them with the competencies necessary to become productive, crime-free members of society. Bureau of Education areas include: academic and special education, vocational education, library services and Title I services. Bureau of Education also coordinates Teacher Certification activities for the Department’s correctional educators.
Certified academic teachers provide mathematics, reading, language, and workforce readiness instruction to inmates with low academic skills. Students’ academic levels are assessed on a regular basis and inmates are afforded the opportunity to secure general educational development (GED) diplomas.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires the Department to provide a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to exceptional students. Exceptional students are students under twenty-two (22) years of age who have a previous special education history, have yet to obtain a high school diploma, continue to need special education and related services to benefit from participation in an educational assignment, consent to receive special education services, and have a current transition plan/individualized education plan.
ABE/GED programs are in operation at 19 correctional facilities. All of these programs provide specially designed instruction to exceptional students. ABE/GED programs are also provided at 36 correctional facilities through the Inmate Teaching Assistant (ITA) program.
The number of GEDs earned within Department operated facilities declined in FY 2013-14 to 2,010 due to the adoption of the ‘GED 2014’ Test on January 1, 2014. This test has a new format (computer-based) and is much more difficult that the previous version, especially on the mathematical part of the test. The chart below shows the number of GEDs earned at public facilities during the last 8 fiscal years.
Close Management Education Program
Certified academic teachers provide close management inmates both cell-front and correspondence-study instruction in mathematics, reading, language, and workforce readiness skills. Close management inmates are also afforded the opportunity to secure general educational development (GED) diplomas. Close management education programs are in operation at 5 correctional facilities. All of these programs provide specially designed instruction to exceptional students.
Inmate Teaching Assistant Program (ITA)
Academic education services are provided at some institutions by utilizing trained Inmate Teaching Assistants (ITAs) working under the direction and supervision of a certified academic teacher. ITA Programs are in operation at 36 correctional facilities.
Local Education Agency (LEA)-Operated Academic Education Programs
Federal grant-funded adult education programs provided by county school districts or community colleges offer ABE at Putnam CI and Baker Work Camp.
Smart Horizons Career Online High School (SHCOE)
Inmates take online courses in supervised learning labs and earn career certificates and high school diplomas. The Department of Corrections provides the learning labs and one (1) academic teacher per lab. Smart Horizons Career Online Education, an AdvancED/SACS accredited online school district, provides the online learning platform. The program is in operation at 8 correctional facilities and is currently being expanded to 15 total sites.
Volunteer Literacy Programs
Volunteer Literacy Programs utilize citizen volunteers and/or inmate teaching assistants, who have received tutoring training to assist inmates in improving their educational abilities. Programs are supervised by correctional staff and are operational as an after-hours activity and regular program assignments. Volunteer Literacy Programs are in operation in nearly all major institutions, annexes and work camps.
Mandatory Literacy Program
Chapter 944.801 (3)(i), Florida Statutes, requires inmates who have 2 years or more remaining to serve on their sentence at time of reception and who have Tests of Adult Basic Education (TABE) total battery scores below grade level 6.0 to attend not fewer than 150 hours of sequential instruction in a correctional adult basic education program. These inmates are enrolled in the ABE-GED program but tracked separately until they complete a minimum of 150 hours of instruction. Upon completion of 150 hours of instruction or the achievement of a total battery score of grade level 6.0 on the TABE, whichever comes first, the inmates may enroll in the ABE-GED program or withdraw from academic education.
Federally Funded Academic Programs and Services
For Fiscal Year 2013-2014, the Department of Corrections was awarded $4,757,544 in federal grant funds to provide academic, vocational, and exceptional education services to inmates and training to correctional educators: $1,203,423 in Adult Basic Education (ABE) grant funds, $1,997,092 in No Child Left Behind Act, Subchapter I, Part D, Subpart 1 (Title I) grant funds, $1,077,830 in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grant funds, $17,698 in No Child Left Behind Act, Subchapter II (Title II) grant funds, and $460,000 in Perkins Act grant funds. Seventy-four (74) education positions – authorized, OPS and contract – are federal grant funded.
Institutional Vocational Education Programs
The Department provides 80 vocational education courses in 33 distinct vocational trades at 33 Department facilities. The number of Vocational certificates earned has remained at near 1,800 during the last three fiscal years.
All Vocational Teachers are certified, and all programs utilize Department of Education approved curriculum frameworks. Vocational Teacher salaries are a general revenue expense; however, the Department receives $460,000 in Perkins grant funds annually to supplement general revenue funds in support of vocational training programs. These funds may only be used for purchasing supplies and equipment, grant administration and teacher in-service costs. The chart below shows the number of Vocational Certificates earned at public facilities during the last 8 fiscal years.
Florida Ready to Work provides the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) inmates with resources that offer targeted, contextual instruction in core foundational skills areas identified by employers as critical for job success across occupations and industries.
Florida Ready to Work is a workforce education and economic development program that provides inmates, who are generally within six (6) months of release, the opportunity to earn a credential signed by Governor Rick Scott that certifies they are Florida Ready to Work. Over six hundred and fifty (650+) employers in Florida recognize the Ready to Work credential. Also, Florida Ready to Work is supported by business/industry leaders including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida, Florida Retail Federation, Manufacturers Association of Florida and the HR (Human Resource) Florida State Council.
The department, in partnership with Humane Societies and other animal service centers, runs twenty (20) dog obedience and service training programs throughout Florida to provide inmates with meaningful job training and abused, neglected, or abandoned dogs a second chance at life. These programs are a part of the department’s re-entry efforts, which are focused on preparing inmates for successful re-entry into society upon release from prison. There are various types and purposes of dog training programs to include service dogs for disabled veterans, saving Greyhounds, adoption, obedience, and heartworm rehabilitation.
|Career and Technical Education Programs by Facility|
|Facility / # of Programs||Career and Technical Education Programs|
|Apalachee CI - East (1)||(1) Carpentry|
|Avon Park CI (6)||(1) Automotive Technology Career Services, (2) Cabinetmaking, (3) PC Support Services, (4) Printing and Graphic Communications, (5) Turf Equipment Technology, (6) Applied Welding Technologies|
|Baker CI (4)||(1) Cabinetmaking, (2) Electricity, (3) Masonry, Brick and Block, (4) Plumbing Technology|
|Calhoun CI (1)||(1) Printing and Graphic Communications|
|Columbia CI (1)||(1) PC Support Services|
|Columbia Annex (1)||(1) Masonry, Brick and Block|
|Cross City CI (3)||(1) Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing, (2) Cabinetmaking, (3) PC Support Services|
|DeSoto Annex (3)||(1) Carpentry, (2) Masonry, Brick and Block, (3) Applied Welding Technologies|
|Franklin CI (1)||(1) Plumbing Technology|
|FSP West (2)||(1) Printing and Graphic Communications, (2) Plumbing Technology|
|Gulf CI (1)||(1) Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology|
|Hamilton CI (3)||(1) Cabinetmaking, (2) Electricity, (3) Masonry, Brick and Block|
|Hamilton CI Annex (1)||(1) PC Support Services|
|Hardee CI (1)||(1) Carpentry|
|Hernando CI * (1)||(1) Digital Design|
|Holmes CI (3)||(1) Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing, (2) PC Support Services, (3) Applied Welding Technologies|
|Homestead CI * (2)||(1) Automotive Technology Career Services, (2) PC Support Services|
|Lake CI (2)||(1) Cabinetmaking, (2) Wastewater/Water Treatment Technologies|
|Lancaster CI (6)||(1) Automotive Technology Career Services, (2) Carpentry, (3) Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts, (4) Environmental Services, (5) PC Support Services, (6) Printing and Graphic Communications|
|Lawtey CI (1)||(1) Architectural Drafting|
|Lowell CI * (5)||(1) Cosmetology, (2) Architectural Drafting, (3) PC Support Services, (4) Equine Care Technology, (5) Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts|
|Lowell CI Annex * (2)||(1) Fashion Design Services, (2) Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology|
|Madison CI (1)||(1) Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts|
|Marion CI (4)||(1) Cabinetmaking, (2) Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology, (3) Electricity, (4) Water/Wastewater Treatment Technologies|
|Mayo Annex (2)||(1) Electronics Technology, (2) PC Support Services|
|Polk CI (3)||(1) Automotive Technology Career Services, (2) PC Support Services, (3) Plumbing Technology/Fire Sprinkler Systems Technology|
|Sago Palm WC (1)||(1) PC Support Services|
|Santa Rosa Annex (1)||(1) Commercial Class "B" Driving|
|Sumter CI (5)||(1) Automotive Technology Career Services, (2) Electronics Technology, (3) Masonry, Brick and Block, (4) YO Masonry, Brick and Block, (5) YO Architectural Drafting|
|Suwanee CI Annex (2)||(1) Plumbing Technology, (2) PC Support Services|
|Taylor CI (1)||(1) Plumbing Technology|
|Taylor CI Annex (3)||(1) Carpentry, (2) Masonry, Brick and Block, (3) PC Support Services|
|Tomoka CI (2)||(1) Carpentry (2) Masonry, Brick and Block|
|Wakulla CI (1)||(1) Environmental Services|
|Wakulla Annex (1)||(1) Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology|
|Walton CI (2)||(1) Carpentry, (2) Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology|
* = Female facility
(#) = DC-operated career and technical education programs
YO = Youthful Offender program