|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.|
(Baselines indicated in parentheses)
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
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.
Objective 2 - 4.2
By July 1999, increase the number of citizen volunteer service hours by 5% over Fiscal Year 1995-96 levels.