In February 2009, the Department opened its flagship re-entry facility, Demilly Correctional Institution serving inmates returning to Polk and surrounding counties. In September 2009, the Department converted Baker Correctional Institution into a re-entry prison for inmates returning to Duval and surrounding counties. Baker CI was established in partnership with Duval County for inmates returning to Northeast Florida after completing their sentences. To be eligible for placement at Baker CI, inmates must have three or fewer years remaining on their sentences and they must plan to live in Duval, Baker, Bradford, Clay, and Nassau, Union or Columbia counties upon release. Emphasis at Baker CI is on education with GED classes and vocational programming like masonry, cabinetmaking and electrical wiring programs. Anger management, substance abuse programs and transition skills programs are also available to assist inmates in successfully returning to the community. The Department of Corrections is working closely with Duval county community leaders in this endeavor.
In the fall of 2009, the Department of Corrections, City of Jacksonville and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office received a $750,000 federal grant from the Federal Second Chance Act to assist inmates being released to Duval county with their re-entry into the community. Inmates who are released from Baker CI to Duval county are delivered to the Jacksonville Re-entry Center (JREC) "Portal of Entry." Operated by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in partnership with the Florida Department of Corrections, the JREC is the first stop after prison and assists offenders in making a successful transition back into the community by providing services including felony registration and assistance with housing, employment and health care needs. The funding will allow the JREC to serve even more individuals.
"Eventually, we want to see this "portal of entry" available to every offender coming back to Jacksonville. This money will be put to good use to address the many needs of the 1,500 offenders coming home to Jacksonville every year from state prisons," said Sheriff John Rutherford. "Their success on the outside is the key to a safe community, lower jail populations, and reduced caseloads in our courtrooms," he added. We expect this partnership to serve as a model for other areas of our state as a beginning to further public safety for our citizens.
The Office of Re-Entry also provides ongoing re-entry activities throughout the state including participation in reentry coalitions, job fairs, transition fairs, reentry classes at probation offices, and other related transitional services. The Office of Re-Entry also hosts Re-Entry Seminars statewide. During these seminars staff coordinates with various service providers and local agencies to provide useful resource information that will aid the inmate in their transition back into the community (e.g., Agency for Workforce Innovation, Small Business Administration, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Labor, Social Security Administration, Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, Department of Health, Department of Revenue, etc.). The Office of Re-Entry, Bureau of Inmate Transition coordinates these seminars throughout the state and then assists institutional staff in organizing them for continuation on a regular basis.
For a detailed list of inmate programs available by facility, go to www.dc.state.fl.us/facilities/ciindex.html.
"Re-Entry is about keeping our communities safe."