Community Partnership Meetings – The Department of Corrections (DC) values our partnerships with all communities across the state of Florida. In an effort to enhance these partnerships and increase Agency transparency, regular Community Partnership meetings were held across the state in FY 2011-12. These meetings brought DC leadership and staff together with community members, volunteers, local businesses, and local leaders to discuss ways we can all work together to strengthen Florida’s communities. These meetings will continue to be held regularly at prisons around the state as we continue to provide transparency to our communities and foster partnerships that assist DC with re-entry efforts. For more information on Community Partnership meetings, including a schedule of upcoming events, please visit http:// www.dc.state.fl.us/reentry/partnership.shtml.
Town Hall Meetings – In addition to Community Partnership meetings, DC held a series of statewide Town Hall meetings where DC’s leadership and Florida’s citizens came together to discuss concerns and challenges, share ideas for improvement, identify available resources, and develop partnerships to help inmates and offenders successfully transition back to their communities. These meetings helped launch the Department’s “Transition from Prison to Communities Initiative” (TPCI) and promote other programs aimed at making Florida’s communities safer by reducing recidivism, reducing victimization, and reducing costs to taxpayers. The Town Hall meetings, which began in the summer of 2012, were a huge success for the Agency.
Reducing Recidivism – Last year, Florida’s DC found the state’s recidivism rate – the rate at which inmates return to prison within three years of being released from prison – had fallen from 34% for inmates released in 2003 to 28% for inmates released in 2008. This reduction corresponds with a 16% decline in prison admissions, from 39,907 in 2007 to 33,471 in 2011, and with an overall reduction in Florida’s crime rate. To learn more about Florida’s recidivism rate, and to see other DC statistics, please visit http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/index.html.
U.S. Department of Justice Grant Received to Study Inmate Programs’ Success – During FY 2011-12, the Department, in partnership with the Florida State University’s Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research, was awarded a $598,982 grant to conduct a three-year study of success rates for three of Florida DC’s inmate programs: prison substance abuse treatment, work release, and post-release community supervision. DC’s Bureau of Research and Data Analysis and the Office of Re-Entry were instrumental in securing the grant.
Performance-Based Assessments – In FY 2011-12, the Department began developing performance-based assessments for all areas of operations. The goals of these assessments are to enhance organizational performance, ensure accountability, highlight success, and facilitate change when and where it is needed. Since Institutions is DC’s largest area of operations, initial efforts were focused on identifying areas of assessment and specific performance indicators that help gauge institutional mission success – making certain that state-run prisons are protecting public safety, protecting staff and inmate safety, ensuring those in DC custody receive fair and just treatment, aiding inmates in their re-entry to society, giving back to our communities, and efficiently using state resources. In FY 2012-13, performance-based assessments will be fully implemented in all Program areas and “Quarterly Performance Scorecards” will be made available to the public via DC’s public website (http://www.dc.state.fl.us/index.html).
The Florida Department of Corrections is the state’s largest Agency. In ongoing efforts to ensure the Department is operating efficiently and maximizing resources, DC continued to look for ways to reduce costs in FY 2011-12. Some of the year’s cost savings initiatives were:
AlertXpress Notification System – Last year, the DC launched a new automated system to alert Florida residents of emergency situations – including, but not limited to, prison escapes, Amber Alerts, and Silver Alerts. Once registered, residents will receive automated calls relaying emergency-specific information for Florida DC facilities for which they have registered. To register with our AlertXpress Notification System, please call toll-free (855) 963-6229.
Community Work Squads Generate Costs Savings For Florida’s Communities - DC’s Community Work Squads provide inmate labor to state agencies, cities, counties, and municipalities, universities, and non-profit organizations. Community Work Squads provide assistance and cost savings to communities, while also providing inmates meaningful work and opportunities to learn valuable skills that will help them re-enter society upon their release. In FY 2011-12, Community Work Squads performed 5.8 million hours of work, which was valued at more than $78 million – with net costs savings/ value added of $46 million provided to the citizens of Florida.
Offenders Give Back – In FY 2011-12, offenders on community supervision completed 1,560,912 hours of community service. The DC, through the Office of Community Corrections, also collected $71,856,973 from offenders on community supervision to go toward victim restitution, court costs, fines, and other fees.
Canine Tracking Teams – Florida’s DC has 38 canine programs. DC canines are used to assist other law enforcement agencies when assistance is requested with felon apprehension, searching for missing persons, and locating and providing aid to persons in distress. In FY 2011-12, DC’s canine tracking teams were deployed 622 times – 356 times for criminal incidents, with 111 of those involving armed individuals. Missing person searches accounted for 123 deployments.