Preparing inmates to return to society is one of the most important things we can do to protect public safety. Our re-entry philosophy is simple: if inmates spend their time in prison getting an education or vocation, attending substance-abuse treatment programs, learning skills like how to successfully interview for and hold a job, they are more likely to remain productive citizens and less likely to commit new crimes.
Our research tells us that for every three inmates released from Florida prisons, one will return within three years. In fact, just last year more than 37,000 inmates were released from Florida prisons, meaning if statistical history holds true, more than 12,000 people will commit new crimes and return to our custody. And at least 12,000 more Florida citizens will become new crime victims.
For a list of inmate programs such as academic education, technical education, substance abuse, among others, by facility see our web site at www.dc.state.fl.us/facilities/ciindex.html
Under the direction of Secretary Walt McNeil and the Office of Re-entry, prisons across Florida, utilizing existing resources, began their own re-entry efforts. Enlisting community volunteers to expand educational and vocational programs, offering mock job fairs and re-entry seminars for inmates soon to be released, each institution is shaping its own re-entry plan. Here are what a few are doing:
Demilly and Baker Correctional Institutions -Demilly C.I. in Polk County became the Department’s first Re-Entry facility with an emphasis on programs and treatment for inmates nearing release. Baker Correctional in Baker County followed shortly behind, offering re-entry services to inmates released in Duval and surrounding counties.
Century Correctional Institution in Escambia County - Century Correctional is a leader in working with volunteers to develop re-entry programs for inmates. Century inmates rotate between four classes: Florida Ready to Work, Impact of Crime on Victims, Personal Financial Management, and the Alcohol and Chemical Treatment Series (ACTS). With the help and dedication of community volunteers, staff at Century started with virtually no programming. Today other institutions follow the re-entry example set by Century.
Glades Correctional Institution - Glades C.I. became Florida’s fourth Faith and Character-Based (FCB) prison. FCB institutions are designed to help inmates build moral character, develop spiritual resources and acquire life skills that will lead them to positive behavior both in prison and once they are released. An inmate’s faith is not considered in determining their admission to a FCB institution. In fact, 11% of those in FCB institutions say they have no religious affiliation.
Lowell Correction Institution - 120 inmates at Lowell C.I. participated in a day-long Re-Entry Seminar. Representatives from organizations such as the Social Security Administration, the Health Department, Department of Children and Families, the Division of Drivers Licenses, the Florida Parole Commission, One Stop Workforce Connection and the Marion County Homeless Coalition provide invaluable information to female inmates as they prepare for a successful re-entry into society.
On September 16, Holmes C.I. held a mock job fair for inmates soon to re-enter society. Guest employers from local businesses provided a great community service by participating in the fair and interviewing inmates for mock positions.