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

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Goal 2 - 4: To provide inmates the opportunity to discover and express their religious faith while incarcerated and to aid them spiritually and practically to turn away from their criminal lifestyles.

Key indicators in assessing progress toward Goal 2-4:

(Baselines indicated in parentheses)

  1. Average weekly number of inmates attending religious services, with annual percentage change shown. (FY 96/97:14,546, 8.8%)

  2. Number of annual volunteer hours in the chaplaincy program, with the annual percentage change shown. (FY 96/97: 243,290; percentage of change pending)


Condition Descriptions, Objectives and Strategies

Chaplaincy and Citizen Volunteer Programs

The rules and policies of the Florida Department of Corrections provide the opportunity for religious expression and worship services to all segments of the inmate population. Religious expression is an important individual right that is beneficial to inmates in their adjustment to institutional life and is consistent with the development of a value system that may assist in societal adjustment.

Evaluation studies of the impact of religious activity on both the institutional adjustment and successful re-entry to the community have been initiated by the department. Preliminary results clearly confirm the value of religious activities for positive change in a person's value system and personal growth and development.11

Citizen Volunteers

Over the past 20 years, the Department has developed a strong core of citizen volunteers who assist Department staff to provide programs and services statewide. More than 59 percent of the 5,600 citizen volunteers assist in religious services. To effectively meet the needs of a growing offender population, the department has begun to expand its recruitment efforts to involve more volunteers in the areas of education, vocational instruction, treatment, and personal betterment programs. The use of volunteers enables the department to provide a greater volume of programs and services while avoiding costs that would be associated with paid staff.

In addition to expanding the array of services available to offenders, citizen volunteers also help reduce inmate idleness. In Fiscal Year 1994-95, citizen volunteers provided more than 20,000 hours of service per month, which translates to an annual cost avoidance of approximately $2 million.12

The department has established a series of community partnerships with universities, colleges and community organizations to increase opportunities for the use of volunteers and student interns in all aspects of correctional programming and services. The department is committed to using volunteers at more locations and to creating more partnerships in the future that assist staff to provide effective services to the offender population. In Fiscal Year 1995-96, more than two thirds of the department's locations utilized the services of citizen volunteers.

Objective 2 - 4.1

By July 2000, increase the number of inmates participating in religious services by 3% annually for a 15% total increase above the baseline number of 14,546 in FY 96/97.

(Work, Training and Restitution Program)

Projection Table
1999
14,982
3%
2000
15,419
6%
2001
15,954
9%
2002
16,291
12%
2003
16,728
15%

Strategies:

  1. Provide opportunities for inmate participation in a cross section of religious services, intended to allow religious expression and cultivate positive change. Lead Org. Unit: Education and Job Training
  2. Implement a holistic program to identify underlying causes of personal and relational problems. Lead Org. Unit: Education and Job Training

Objective 2 - 4.2

By July 1999, increase the number of citizen volunteer service hours by 5% over Fiscal Year 1995-96 levels.

(Work, Training and Restitution Program)

Projection Table
Dec. 1998:
249,372
(2.5%)
July 1999:
255,454
(5%)

Strategies:

  1. Identify recruitment methods to expand use of citizen volunteers. Lead Org. Unit: Security and Institutional Management; Other Org. Units: Community Corrections
  2. Establish guidelines for expanded use of volunteers in major institutions, community facilities and probation/parole locations Lead Org. Unit: Executive Services; Other Org. Unit: Security and Institutional Management, Community Corrections