|Goal 1-5: Educate the public on correctional management and public safety issues.|
Public opinion is a powerful force in Florida. If the public believes their elected officials are not ensuring their safety, they register their displeasure at the polls. The department's funding is dependent on the support of the taxpayer and the legislature's votes. The department must educate the public, the legislature, and all levels of government on the critical issues the department faces, especially those directly affecting the public.
Far too often, the department faces negative media coverage. More often than not, our positive programs, community partnerships, benevolent acts, and other successes go unnoticed. In addition, Floridians are of the inaccurate opinion that inmates do not work, lay around all day watching cable television, and entertain themselves with the best recreational equipment. Moreover, when they have served a third of their sentence, many people think the department releases them early so they can return to their life of crime.
The reality is the majority of inmates do work. This productive work is in jobs that directly benefit Florida taxpayers. In the cases of television and wellness equipment and programs, these are population management tools. The use of these tools does give correctional officers additional methods, in their already limited behavior control arsenal, for controlling violent and disruptive inmates. Finally, statutes and the courts, not the department, determine the length of inmate sentences.
A survey conducted in March of 1997 by the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research is the department's baseline data for this goal. The survey is titled Corrections in Florida: What the Public, News Media and DC Staff Think. The department is targeting the section titled Public's Perception of DC's Performance: How Are We Doing. The section focuses on five questions that directly relate to the two issues in the ASP; Public Safety and Programs that enhance the ability of inmates and offenders to be successfully reintegrated into society. The five questions deal with the public's perception of the department's success in preventing escapes, rehabilitating criminals, recovering restitution for crime victims, programs that prevent substance abuse and finally how good a job the department is doing overall. Below is an extract that speaks to the 1997 survey results:
Increase by 5% each year the combined good and excellent ratings for the general public in the five categories of the "Public's Perception of DC's Performance: How are we doing?" section found in the March 1998 Corrections in Florida: What the Public, News Media and DC Staff Think survey's 63.3%, 14.4%, 9.3%, 26.8%, 23.4% baseline ratings by June 2004.
|FY 99-00||FY 00-01||FY 01-02||FY 02-03||FY 03-04|
|Criminal Pay Victims||14.3%||19.3%||24.3%||29.3%||34.3%|
|Drug Abuse Treatment||31.8%||36.8%||41.8%||46.8%||51.8%|