|Goal 2-1: To contribute to recidivism reduction by providing educational and vocational programs, and related services that maximize offenders' functional skills in order to aid in their societal and institutional adjustment|
(Baselines indicated in parentheses)
Education and Job training
Experience of the department has indicated that offenders sentenced to prison or to community supervision often lack knowledge, skills, and work experience needed to function successfully in the free community. Few programs or services for offenders provide successful results for all participants. Many programs do help significant numbers of participants become productive citizens and turn away from continued criminal activity. According to a 1997 study done by the University of Florida, over 90% of the Florida residents surveyed believe offenders should receive education services and substance abuse treatment.4
Under the provisions of Section 944.801 Florida Statutes, inmate literacy is given high priority. Inmates who have two years or more remaining on their sentence (and not serving a life sentence) at the time they are received at an institution and who lack basic and functional literacy skills (testing below the ninth grade level) are required to attend at least 150 hours of sequential instruction in a correctional adult basic education program.
The highest priority of inmate participation in the Mandatory Literacy Program (MLP) is the focus on youthful offenders and inmates nearing release from the correctional system. Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) will continue to be emphasized and enhanced. There are 23 CAI Labs operating at 43 correctional institutions. These labs decrease the time most inmates need to raise their literacy levels.
The number of inmates receiving Special Education services has increased dramatically since the 1990-1991 fiscal year. Chart 2-3 shows the trend toward the increasing number of inmates served during the past six years.5
| Inmates Receiving
Special Education Services
|Chart 2-3. Click for larger view.|
A key innovation in correctional education is the Florida Corrections Distance Learning Network (CDLN), consisting of 38 sites combining satellite and multipoint video conferencing systems. The network meets two critical needs of the department: efficient and cost effective educational services for offenders, both incarcerated and supervised; and, centralized support for staff development and training. The primary emphasis of the network is inmate education, with programming to cover academics, vocational training, and life management skills. Distance Learning is now widely recognized as not only the newest force in education, but one of the most successful, particularly for specialized student populations. In utilizing the latest technology to meet the educational needs of Florida's inmate population the department has become a national leader in prison education solutions for the 21st century.7
The transition skills curriculum consists of class modules in employability skills, decision making, problem solving, continuing education and community re-entry concerns. The purpose of this program is to provide inmates with fundamental skills that will prepare them for a successful re-entry into the community.
The department's Library Services program manages the delivery of general library and law library services at correctional institutions and facilities.
Per order of the U.S. Supreme Court in Bounds v. Smith (1997), the department is also required to provide inmates with access to legal research materials, support services, and persons trained in the law. The department complies with this requirement by providing inmates with access to:
Programs for special needs inmates
In order to ensure development of programs that are age and gender specific the department organized a specific element, the Bureau of Program Services, to serve as an advocacy for inmates with special needs. The special need population includes youth, female and elderly inmates. The development, continuation and expansion of programs for offenders that have special needs are recognized by the department as high priorities. The department also recognizes the importance and cost effectiveness of minimizing inmate idleness, among special needs inmates as well as the rest of the inmate population. Therefore, development and implementation of meaningful programs for these inmates becomes important to their overall institutional adjustment and can assist them in making a more positive transition back to the community.
By June 30, 2002 provide educational and vocational training programs and related services to at least 75% of the inmates identified as requiring these services.