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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary

Department of Corrections' Commmitment to Re-Entry

Re-Entry Seal - When they succeed, we succeed.

The Department is committed to ensuring public safety by helping inmates and offenders successfully transition back into their communities. Upon release, inmates and offenders often face significant challenges, like possessing limited work skills and education; finding it difficult to obtain employment and sometimes a place to live; finding little, if any, social support; and having limited knowledge about community resources which may be available to them, or where to go for assistance. Through the Office of Re-Entry, DC continues its efforts to help those being released to overcome the challenges they face and successfully reintegrate into their communities.

Partners & Partnerships – Transitioning inmates and offenders have significant needs for services that are typically funded and/or provided by non-correctional agencies, by community organizations, and by informal networks. In order to best assist the inmate or offender, these stakeholders must be a part of a re-entry planning process from the onset. By collaborating with others, DC and community partners can ensure inmates and offenders have a better chance at a successful transition. In FY 2011-12, DC began holding Community Partnership Meetings across the state, allowing DC to grow new partnerships and strengthen existing ones, to assist with re-entry efforts. To learn more about Community Partnership Meetings, or how to get involved in re-entry efforts, please visit http://www.dc.state.fl.us/reentry/partnership.shtml.

Transition from Prison to Communities Initiative (TPCI) – In FY 2011-12, DC’s Office of Re-Entry created two teams and a series of focus groups to begin implementing TPCI in Florida. TPCI is an evidence-based re-entry initiative that began with the National Institute of Corrections in 2001 and relies on a three- phase transition model – “Getting Ready,” “Going Home,” and “Staying Home.” This strategy recognizes that within these three phases, there are seven distinct decision points that impact an inmate’s/offender’s transition back to society – assessment and classification, behavior and programming, release preparation, release decision making, supervision and services, revocation decision making, and discharge and aftercare. Florida’s DC has designated a core team, which is responsible for providing leadership and direction for the initiative; an implementation team to support the vision and mission of the core team; and focus groups to continuously improve efforts. To learn more about TPCI, please visit http://www.dc.state.fl.us/reentry/tpci.shtml.

Thinking for a Change (T4C) - When awarded the 2nd Chance Act grant in 2009, DC was tasked with ensuring sustainability of evidence-based programs implemented through grant funding. This was accomplished by hosting a series of Thinking for a Change training events statewide during FY 2011-12. Training was comprised of 12-14 participants and lasted four days. A total of 120 staff members were trained in Thinking for a Change within institutions and community corrections. During this time, 634 inmates successfully completed the program. T4C is an evidence-based cognitive behavioral curriculum from the National Institute of Corrections (NIC). The program includes cognitive restructuring, social skills development, and the development of problem solving skills. It stresses interpersonal communication skills development and confronts thought patterns that can lead to problematic behaviors. A study of Thinking for a Change completed by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, showed that ex-offenders who completed the program were 33% less likely to commit new crimes than ex-offenders who had not completed the program. (Golden, 2002) http://static.nicic.gov/Library/018190.pdf

DC’s Online Community Resource Guide – Last fiscal year, many resources were identified through the DC’s Community Partnership Meetings and Town Hall Meetings. After compiling these resources, the DC launched its “Re-Entry Resource Guide,” which consists of more than 2,000 community resources available to help inmates and offenders on supervision transition back to their communities. Prison Classification Officers and Probation Officers are informing inmates/offenders about the new resource guide. For those needing transition services, and those wishing to be included in our resource guide, we encourage you to visit http://www.DC.state.fl.us/resourceDirectory/Search.aspx.

Veteran Dorms – During FY 2011-12, the DC introduced Veteran Dorms. The program has been implemented in various institutions around the state, including Santa Rosa CI, Gulf CI, Martin CI, Sumter CI, and Lowell CI. This voluntary re-entry program offers specialized services – including cognitive thinking training, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) counseling, and assistance with accessing Veteran’s Affairs Benefits – to DC’s verified military population. For more information, please visit http://www.dc.state.fl.us/reentry/VeteranProgram.shtml.

Faith and Character Based Initiatives – Faith and Character Based (FCB) Residential Programs promote public safety by providing a program-rich environment where inmates can develop spiritual and moral resources that build character, as well as acquire skills that support their successful re-entry into society. In FY 2011-12, DC added 633 beds to FCB Residential Programs and unified the FCB Dorm and FCB Institutional Programs into FCB Residential Programs. To date, there are FCB Residential Programs at 10 different institutions with the capacity for 5,435 inmates.

Institution Program Capacity
Gulf Annex 128
Tomoka Correctional Institution 290
Polk Correctional Institution 128
Lowell Reception Center (Female) 344
Everglades Correctional Institution 128
Union Correctional Institution 96
Hernando Correctional Institution (Female) 181
Lancaster Correctional Institution 62
Lawtey Correctional Institution 835
Wakulla Correctional Institution and Annex 3,243
Total 5,435

To learn more about FCB Residential Programs, please visit http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/faith/index.html.

Other Prison Re-Entry Programs – In FY 2011-12, some of DC’s popular programs continued to thrive with the help of volunteers. Several prisons now provide beekeeping programs – teaching inmates how to maintain a colony and collect honey. Lowell CI has a horse farm – training inmates to rehabilitate retired thoroughbred racehorses, which may be used by the DC and other law enforcement agencies or adopted out to the general public. Around the state, dog programs continue to teach inmates responsibility and empathy, while giving shelter dogs a second chance. These programs, along with many others, offer inmates positive learning environments where they obtain valuable work skills that will help them transition back to society. To learn more about the DC’s commitment to re-entry or specific programs, please visit
http:// www.dc.state.fl.us/reentry/index.shtml.

PRIDE – In FY 2011-12, Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises, Inc. (PRIDE) continued to play a role in the DC’s re-entry efforts by providing inmates with hands-on job training and real world work experience. PRIDE inmates are paid for their work and PRIDE contributes payment to inmates’ victim restitution obligations. Each year, PRIDE trains and employs approximately 4,000 inmates in diverse work programs at institutions across the state. Last fiscal year, 62% of PRIDE-trained inmates were placed in relevant jobs upon release from prison. Annual Report | Fiscal Year 2011-2012 15The Department also has Re-Entry Centers designed to help offenders transition back to their communities; and to help strengthen the relationships between community partners and correctional institutions. These Centers are located in areas that receive a large number of inmate releases.

Re-Entry Centers

Baker Correctional Institution
Baker Correctional Institution offers re-entry services to inmates being released to Duval County and surrounding counties. It is also the site of the Second Chance Demonstration Grant project funded by the Second Chance Grant funds. Inmates receive comprehensive programs and services to assist their transition from prison to the community. Additionally, inmates are transported to the Single Point of Entry – “Portal” in Jacksonville upon release.

Polk Correctional Institution
Polk Correctional Institution was designated as a re-entry center in 2012 and houses inmates nearing release who will be returning to Hillsborough, Polk, and Pinellas Counties.

Sago Palm Re-Entry Center
Sago Palm was designated a re-entry center in October 2010 and houses inmates nearing release who will be returning to Palm Beach County.

Re-Entry Portals

In an effort to address the re-entry issues inmates face upon release, the DC has partnered with various local agencies to operate “Portal of Re-Entry” sites. These are designated release locations for offenders who served time in a local jail, state prison, or federal prison and are returning to a specific county. The portal site connects ex-offenders with service providers to help with needs which were identified during their release planning process.

Re-Entry Portals are located in Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Palm Beach Counties.

Available Services Include:

  • On-Site Felony Registration
  • Case Management
  • Food/Meal Vouchers
  • Legal Aid
  • Health Care
  • Housing
  • Vocational & Academic Counseling
  • Civil Rights Restoration Guidance
  • Medical/Disability Assistance
  • Community Corrections Contact
  • Transition Planning
  • Clothing Closet
  • Job Placement
  • Substance Abuse/Mental Health Aftercare
  • Mentoring
  • Debt Management
  • Life Skills Training

Some of the benefits of Re-Entry Portals are:

  • Providing a Criminal Registration Site.
  • Allowing for immediate contact with Community Corrections.
  • Allowing for law enforcement and the community to easily identify those returning from prison and those residing in the community under court-ordered supervision.
  • Creating a pre-release and post-release continuum for DC and the community.
  • Serving as a “Single Point of Entry” for those being released to access community-based re-entry resources.