The Mission of the Corrections Foundation is to support the programs, personnel, and services of the Department of Corrections through grants, contributions, and community partnerships in the interest of public safety. The Corrections Foundation was established in 1996 as the non-profit Direct Support Organization to the Department of Corrections. (Chapter 944.802, Florida Statutes). The Foundation is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, who are appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Corrections to serve two-year terms. They have a variety of backgrounds and experiences and serve under the leadership of President Louie L. Wainwright. The Corrections Foundation is the first Direct Support Organization of its kind nationally in the field of Corrections. Membership is comprised of DC employees. Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible and receive the maximum charitable deduction allowed by law. In FY 2009-10, the Corrections Foundation assisted 431 employees with $510,000 in assistance checks for emergencies, house fires, hospitalizations and out-of-town travel due to death or illness.
2601 Blair Stone Road, Suite B154
Tallahassee, FL 32399
In June 2008, the Florida Department of Corrections took the initial steps to develop a coordinated systems approach to offender re-entry. To achieve this goal, Secretary McNeil formed the Re-Entry Advisory Council to assist in the development of a statewide strategy to improve re-entry efforts and reduce recidivism in the state of Florida. In early 2009, the Council submitted recommendations to address barriers to successful re-entry to Secretary McNeil. The Department used those recommendations to craft its five-year Recidivism Reduction Strategic Plan, released in June 2009. In October 2009, the Department of Corrections received a $750,000 Second Chance Act grant to provide comprehensive re-entry services to inmates returning to Jacksonville, Florida. A portion of the grant allocated funds to continue the Re- Entry Advisory Council and support its efforts.
Based on the requirements of the Second Chance Act grant, the Re-Entry Advisory Council's mission is to prepare a report that includes an analysis of best practices in offender re-entry as it relates to statewide re-entry, examine ways to more efficiently utilize resources that promote lower recidivism rates for releasing inmates; and assist the Office of Re-Entry in monitoring the progress being made on the Recidivism Reduction Plan.
For more information about the Re-Entry Advisory Council, contact Deborah Rossi Miller at miller.deborahrossi@mail. dc.state.fl.us.
The Department of Corrections, through its Bureaus of Procurement and Facilities Services, worked cooperatively to enter into a Guaranteed Energy, Water and Wastewater Performance Savings Contract (ESCO) with FPL Services, LLC for the purpose of installing equipment, and providing services designed to reduce energy or water consumption, wastewater production, or energy related operating costs for the Department at the following locations:
Average Savings more than $1 million annually
Average Savings more than $1.8 million annually
Average Savings more than $1.7 million annually
When fully implemented, it is anticipated that these energy-efficient measures will save the Department an average of $4.5 million annually in operating and utility costs.
Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE) plays a vital role in the Department's re-entry efforts by providing inmates with hands-on job training and instilling in them a solid work ethic. PRIDE inmates are paid for their work and PRIDE contributes payment to their victim restitution obligations. Each year PRIDE trains and employs more than 4,000 inmates at 29 institutions in 41 diverse work programs. These programs range from farm worker to dental lab technician.
Partnering with PRIDE helps us reduce recidivism by giving inmates the opportunity to learn new skills and gain real world work experience prior to re-entering society. This partnership between PRIDE and the Department exemplifies our commitment to making inmates more employable and therefore more likely to stay out of prison upon release.
In FY0910, 57% of PRIDE-trained inmates were placed in relevant jobs upon release from prison. Only 14% of PRIDE's former workers returned to prison within two years of release.
Visit PRIDE at http://www.pride-enterprises.org/
In FY0910, the Florida Department of Corrections (DC) entered into a three-year agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to identify military veterans being released from prison and those on community supervision so that the VA may assist those who are eligible with their mental health, medical, substance abuse, and housing needs.
Approximately 7,000 of the 102,000 inmates currently serving time in Florida prisons have identified themselves as military veterans. This agreement will not only result in improved continuity of care for the released inmates and offenders who are veterans, but will result in savings to Florida taxpayers who fund state and community programs that would otherwise be accessed by these inmates and offenders upon release. The Department has comprehensive medical records on what types of mental health, medical or substance abuse treatment the inmates in our care require, and sharing that information with our VA partners will smooth their transition to society, and open up more doors for them to receive necessary services.
As is outlined in the agreement, all confidentiality laws regarding the sharing of medical information will be strictly followed by both the Department and the VA. Participation in this agreement is completely voluntary on the part of the inmate and offenders on supervision. Using data provided by the Department, the VA will identify incarcerated veterans who are eligible for VA benefits upon release from prison. The VA will provide the identified inmate veterans with information about what benefits and services are available to them, and will also assist them prior to release in completing the applications and forms required to access their veteran's benefits.
The VA is also working with the Department to develop an automated electronic referral system that will identify needed services and enhance the continuity of care for the incarcerated veteran as they transition back into the community.
Volunteer Couple at Jackson C.I. named Florida Department of Correction's statewide Volunteers of the Year 2009
Charles "Chuck" Chavers and Martha Chavers of Dothan, Alabama have logged thousands of miles of travel and donated hundreds of hours of their time in order to improve the lives of inmates at the Jackson Correctional Institution in Malone, Florida. The Chavers, both very active retirees, travel 80 miles roundtrip, sometimes five or even six times a week, to volunteer their services at Jackson C.I.
They were honored in FY0910 as Volunteers of the Year by Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Walter A. McNeil. The Chavers' have for the last 30 months worked for the betterment of the 1,300 inmates at Jackson C.I. Up through March 19, 2010 when Jackson C.I. Assistant Warden Carolann Bracewell put their names forward for the honor, the couple had given 2,080 hours of good works at the institution.
The Chavers' were selected from many other worthy volunteers across the state who were described by Secretary McNeil as people who "display exceptional dedication and commitment and who provide a considerable benefit to the Department through selfless work."
Bracewell said in her recommendation that among other duties, Chuck Chavers fills in for the Senior Chaplain and that he and his wife Martha teach a weekly re-entry class on character development and personal development. Bracewell reported that the couple also facilitates seminars and classes in anger resolution, and personal and spiritual conflict resolution. During the holiday season they coordinate with churches and other volunteers to buy toys for the children who visit their parent in the visiting park on Christmas weekend.
This year, Bracewell said, "Each child received a beautifully wrapped gift from their dads'. The inmates and their families were very touched by this kindness." In addition, Mr. Chavers, a graduate of the Florida Theological Seminary in nearby Graceville, Florida, coordinates and participates in the Sunday morning worship service at the Jackson Work Camp. He was also responsible for the revitalization of a program to provide greeting cards for the inmates to send to their loved ones. He also facilitates the donation of sports equipment to the institution's wellness program.
Mrs. Chavers, who taught school three years in Ocala and 27 years in Dothan, volunteers in the institution's education department, supervising classes in the absence of the teacher, assisting in various classrooms and tutoring students working toward their educational goals. She intends to renew her Florida teaching credentials. She also serve's on the facility's re-entry committee.
Florida Secretary of Corrections Walter A McNeil present Volunteer of
the Year award to Chuck and Martha Chavers (Photo by Doug Smith)
Marion Correctional Institution Special Education Instructor is Department's Teacher of the Year
Andrea Browning, a Special Education Teacher from Marion Correctional Institution, has been chosen the Florida Department of Corrections' Teacher of the Year. She also represented the Department in the statewide Teacher of the Year competition sponsored by the Department of Education, where she competed competed against public school teachers.
"I think we've all been influenced somewhere along the line by an outstanding teacher, and the positive influence teachers such as Ms. Browning can have on the life of an inmate, particularly a Special Education inmate, is beyond measure. I congratulate her, along with all our dedicated teachers, for their commitment to such a worthwhile profession," said Secretary Walter McNeil.
Browning, who has been with the DC since 2007, is often referred to as "an ambassador for the education department" because of her friendly, professional manner, her respect for her fellow correctional colleagues and her commitment to helping her students reach their educational goals. She makes supporting the classroom teachers and students a priority by customizing instructional materials, assessments and vocational skill demonstrations so students can progress through programs. She also integrates re-entry goals into her duties by helping her students plan for their housing, education and employment needs after release. She even volunteers with the staff canteen operations.
What is her secret to success? She says her goal is to get students to ask questions and to want to know more, and believes her greatest contribution is being a great listener.
"Many forget teaching is not telling someone how to do something. I believe students are much more open to learning from someone who will take the time to listen and to learn from them as well," said Browning.
UTOPIA stands for Undergoing Training & Obedience in Prison to Increase Adoptability. UTOPIA dogs spend eight weeks at Taylor Correctional Institution being trained by an inmate and can sit, stay, come and walk by your side without pulling on the leash. They are crate trained and housebroken. They have all their shots, are microchipped, and have been spayed or neutered. Adoption only costs $150 – a bargain since you won't have to pay for dog training! To adopt a UTOPIA graduate, contact the Leon Community Animal Service Center's Lisa Glunt at (850) 891-2950 or go here to find out more http://www.talgov.com/animals/utopia.cfm.
This first-of-its-kind dog training program at Wakulla CI is called Heartworm Assistance Rehabilitation Training (HART), and its purpose is to provide a place for heartworm positive dogs to complete their recovery following the heartworm shot regiment, which is administered offsite. The dogs are taken through bonding and stationary obedience exercises during the recovery period, which is a few weeks after they get to Wakulla CI. After the recovery period, the dogs transition to moderate obedience training, and then to full active obedience classes and socialization exercises. At the conclusion, the dogs are heartworm free, healthy, well-trained and available for adoption through the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center. The heartworm treatment is administered by a volunteer veterinarian and the medication is paid for by the Animal Service Foundation and Merial Limited.
DAWGS stands for Developing Adoptable dogs With Good Sociability. DAWGS dogs spend eight weeks at Gulf Correctional Institution being trained by an inmate and can sit, stay, come and walk by your side without pulling on the leash. They are crate trained and housebroken. They have all their shots, and have been spayed or neutered. Adoption only costs $150 – a bargain since you won't have to pay for dog training! All DAWGS have good temperaments and get along well with other dogs. To adopt a DAWGS graduate, contact Sandi Christy, (850) 229-1431 or Melody Townsend, (850) 227-1103, (850) 227-8652, or visit the DAWG's website at www.dawgsinprison.com.
Paws On Parole
Paws on Parole is a partnership program between the Florida Department of Corrections' Gainesville Correctional Institution Work Camp and Alachua County Animal Services. The program is designed to increase adoptability of selected dogs at the Alachua County Animal Shelter. During the eight-week training period, professional dog trainers volunteer their time to teach inmates how to train dogs in socialization techniques and basic obedience. The inmates learn to train the dogs to the standards of the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizens Program.
At the end of their training, the dogs take a test consisting of 10 skills needed by well-mannered dogs such as: accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, walking through a crowd, etc. Paws on Parole also includes an Aftercare Network, which is a group that will work with adopting families and their dogs to help integrate the training the dogs received. Each dog has received all of their shots, is receiving heartworm prevention, is microchipped, crate trained and has been spayed or neutered. Adoption costs are only $45. For more information about the AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and a copy of the brochure, click www.akc.org/ pdfs/cgc/GK9GC1.pdf. For more information about Paws on Parole adoption and the Aftercare Network contact Hilary Hynes, Public Education Program Coordinator, Alachua County Animal Services at (352) 264-6881 or click the Paws on Parole link at www.alachuapets.com.
Prison Pups and Pals
Prison Pups and Pals is a new canine obedience program that has been started in cooperation with Tomoka Correctional Institution, West Volusia Humane Society and the West Volusia Kennel Club. The mission statement of PP&P is to place healthy, spayed/neutered dogs from the Humane Society in a prison environment for seven weeks, to be obedience trained by selected inmates to prepare the dogs to be adopted by forever families. In turn, each inmate will be educated on the proper training methods and care of the dogs to provide them with skills to add to their resume for future jobs. The dogs are crate trained, housebroken, spayed/ neutered, up to date on shots and micro-chipped. The dogs that complete this course will have the AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate. The West Volusia Humane Society adoption fee is only $80! Adoption forms may be obtained by calling the shelter Monday – Friday, 11am – 4pm and Saturdays from noon until 4pm at 386-734-2450. For more information about the program, please visit PP&P's website at www.prisonpupsandpals.org.
Prison Pup Program
Sago Palm Work Camp, in conjunction with New Horizons Service Dogs Inc., recently began an inmate program to train service dogs to assist persons with disabilities. Currently eight dogs are in training at the prison. Training lasts for 18 months and when complete, dogs are able to assist owners in standing, turning on light switches, opening and closing doors, retrieving dropped items and more. The Prison Pup Program is an inmate vocational program where inmates can earn vocational certificates in dog grooming and training while simultaneously preparing dogs to assist persons with disabilities. The program is part of the Department's Re-Entry initiative, which is focused on preparing inmates for successful re-entry into society upon release from prison.
Participation in Public Safety Councils
Most circuits have active public safety councils comprised of local judges, state attorneys, public defenders, clerks, court administrators, sheriffs, chiefs of police, representatives from Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Children and Families, and other agencies including housing authorities, Department of Education and Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These councils discuss sentencing issues, overcrowding in jails, court dockets, data sharing, programs, alternatives for sentencing, gangs, and other relevant issues of mutual concern.
Law Enforcement Partnerships
Probation officers have developed longterm relationships with law enforcement to share data and intelligence and to conduct planned compliance initiatives (planned searches) to monitor sex offenders, career offenders, gang and drug activities, registration requirements, and to serve local warrants. In 2010, a total of 295 of these planned searches or "sweeps" resulted in law enforcement and probation officers arresting 713 offenders after searches recovered firearms, weapons, and drugs from their homes. Through these partnerships, our agencies were able to take weapons, guns, and drugs off the street, before further victimization occurred.
Security Threat Group
The Department's Security Threat Group works with law enforcement to share gang intelligence on inmates being released from prison or to supervision to prepare for the potential return of gang members in the community. In addition, law enforcement officers have also been asked to work with probation officers to assist in offender re-entry and prevention by communicating signs of offenders slipping, so concerns can be addressed before a violation occurs, e.g. offender seen at a location where gang members frequent or where drugs are usually sold.
Job and Resource Fairs
Each probation office enlists the aid of local social service agencies, educational and vocational counselors and numerous others to assist them when they hold job and resource fairs to help offenders on supervision find employment, housing, medical care, transportation, counseling and more. Community Corrections staff continues to diligently develop these resources to better assist offenders in their transition to becoming productive citizens. From showing offenders how to write a resume or dress for an interview, to how to apply for a job online, Community Corrections staff goes above and beyond in building partnerships that will help benefit their offenders and ultimately, the citizens of Florida.
Bond Community Health Center, Inc., was one of the health care providers participating in a Job and Resource Fair held by a Tallahassee probation office to help their offenders connect with employers and social service agents.