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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 2-3: Improve the socialization of offenders through community-based programs that support a positive community reintegration.


Trends And Conditions Analysis (TCA)

Of the 144,733 offenders under community supervision in Florida, estimations are that 75 percent to 85 percent are substance abusers. Many have underlying mental health problems and/or significant academic, vocational or employment deficiencies.

When an offender is placed on community supervision or released from incarceration to supervision, the offender will be returning to and living in the community. The department aids the reintegration process by contracting with qualified community based program providers to provide court or release authority ordered programs to offenders. These programs focus on these major areas: substance abuse, psychological, education and employment. Offenders exposed to these programs are less likely to re-offend, plus it enhances their chances of becoming a tax paying, dependent-supporting community member.

In the past, offenders were not afforded the wide availability of community based programs. Today, however, programs are offered which are suitable and appropriate for offenders' needs. This enables the offender to receive treatment in the least restrictive (and usually least expensive) modality. The number of offenders receiving program services has more than doubled in the past 5 years, cutting the recidivism rate from FY 88-89 to FY 94-95 in half. Periodic evaluation of offender programs identifies those with high success rates and these best practices are shared to maximize results.

A constant challenge for the offender programs is finite resources due to the reluctance to support them financially. Unfortunately, when treatment programs compete for dollars with other priorities they often lose. However, measuring outcomes like reduction in commitments for drug related offenses can justify these fiscal requests, or at least their continued funding. Outcome objectives for this goal show ample justification.

Since the inception of substance abuse funding, which has increased from FY 91 to 96, there is a significant reduction of prison admissions for drug crimes. The advent of drug courts, and community correction substance abuse programs have significantly reduced the number and percentage of inmates admitted to prison with a primary drug offense. There are three main factors for this reduction:

  • Implementation of the many community corrections substance abuse treatment programs.
  • The increased prison construction during the 1990s.
  • The 1994 Sentencing Guidelines policy changes that recognize non-violent drug offenders can be successfully treated in the community.

The result is a balanced criminal justice policy where non-violent drug offenders are treated in the community and violent inmates now serve 85 percent of their sentences. It is vital that community based programs continue to be funded, because these programs operate at a fraction of the cost of new prison construction and an annual cost of $27,000 per institutional bed.4

Success in this goal and its objectives benefits the public by addressing the needs of offenders on the front end, thus reducing the likelihood of continued criminal behavior and reentry to the criminal justice system. Collecting money from offenders who have longer periods of community supervision and that are utilizing learned skills increases cost-avoidance that diminishes taxpayer cost. These results will bolster public confidence that their tax dollars are effectively used for the purposes intended, thus the department will be able to secure additional resources when credible specific needs are identified.

Available offender treatment options allow the department to divert those suitable and cooperative offenders from further penetration into the criminal justice system. This ultimately means less prison beds needed so we can reserve those extremely expensive prison beds for those whom the community needs protection from the most.


Objectives and Strategies

Objective 2-3.1:

Increase the offender successful completion rate at contracted secure substance abuse treatment facilities to 34.6% from a baseline rate of 28.4%(FY 97-98) by June 2004.

Projection Table
June 2000 June 2001 June 2002 June 2003 June 2004
29.9% 31.1% 32.2% 33.4% 34.6%

Strategies:

  1. Reduce the drug offender/probation officer ratio. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Unit: Administration
  2. Retrain key staff at regular intervals. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Unit: Executive Services.
  3. Meet annually with contracted secure service providers. Lead Unit: Community Corrections
  4. Publish identified "Best Practices" at a minimum on an annual basis. Lead Unit: Community Corrections
  5. Enhance existing contracts with vendors who consistently meet performance objectives. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Unit: Administration
  6. Pursue partnerships that enhance program development and cost savings. Lead Unit: Community Corrections

Objective 2-3.2

Increase to 66.7% the offender successful completion rate at contracted non-secure substance abuse treatment facilities from a baseline rate of 58% (FY 96-97) by June 2004.

Projection Table
June 2000 June 2001 June 2002 June 2003 June 2004
59.7% 61.4% 63.1% 64.8% 66.7%

Strategies:

  1. Reduce the drug offender/probation officer ratio. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Unit: Administration
  2. Retrain key staff at regular intervals. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Unit: Executive Services.
  3. Meet annually with contracted secure service providers. Lead Unit: Community Corrections
  4. Publish identified "Best Practices" at a minimum on an annual basis. Lead Unit: Community Corrections
  5. Enhance existing contracts with vendors who consistently meet performance objectives. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Unit: Administration
  6. Pursue partnerships that enhance program development and cost savings. Lead Unit: Community Corrections

Objective 2-3.3

Increase the outpatient substance abuse successful completion rate to 51.7% from the baseline of 47% (FY 96-97) by June 2004.

Projection Table
June 2000 June 2001 June 2002 June 2003 June 2004
47.9% 48.8% 49.8% 50.7% 51.7%

Strategies:

  1. Reduce the drug offender/probation officer ratio. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Unit: Administration
  2. Retrain key staff at regular intervals. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Unit: Executive Services.
  3. Meet annually with contracted secure service providers. Lead Unit: Community Corrections
  4. Publish identified "Best Practices" at a minimum on an annual basis. Lead Unit: Community Corrections
  5. Enhance existing contracts with vendors who consistently meet performance objectives. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Unit: Administration
  6. Pursue partnerships that enhance program development and cost savings. Lead Unit: Community Corrections

Objective 2-3.4

Increase the offender successful completion rate in educational and employment programs to 46% from a -baseline rate of 41.8% (FY 97-98) by June 2004.

Projection Table
June 2000 June 2001 June 2002 June 2003 June 2004
42.6% 43.4% 44.3% 45.1% 46%

Strategies:

  1. Enhance current contracts with education programs. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Units: Administration, Education and Job Training
  2. Establish formal partnerships. Lead Unit: Community Corrections; Support Unit: Education and Job Training
  3. Enhance program development, educational, and employment opportunities and cost savings. Lead Unit: Community Corrections