Region I - Taylor CI Work Squads Build New Public Facilities
Taylor Correctional Institute (CI) was given the opportunity to assist the local governments of the City of Perry and Taylor County in providing inmate work squads to build parks and pavilions. During the months of February and March of 2013, the work squads were able to build pavilions at the Steinhatchee boat ramp, as well as bathrooms, a splash pad, and a park area at the new Perry Farmer’s Market. Taylor CI is committed to the communities that it serves, which without its assistance would be limited in their ability to better enhance public areas. These projects will benefit the citizens of Perry, Steinhatchee, and Taylor County for years to come.
Region II - RMC Staff Assist Local Students with FCAT Preparations
The Reception and Medical Center (RMC) formed a partnership with Lake Butler Middle School (LBMS) in March of 2013 to assist children on the bubble of passing the FCAT. Those students targeted were very near to achieving a score that would move them up to the next level. Throughout each day RMC employees ranging from the Chief Security Officer to line staff would travel to LBMS on their own time, with each visit intended to be more than just a “tutoring session,” as staff also acted as mentors for the students and provided positive role models in their lives. Many of the students come from broken homes and environments not conducive to learning and planning for a positive future, so these sessions served to show the children that someone was interested in their future and cared about them succeeding, not only academically, but personally as well. This positive reinforcement gave many of the children the incentive needed to not only improve their scores, but in most cases to actually pass the FCAT; a first for many of them.
This partnership has been a “win/win” for all parties involved. Earlier this year, the Union County School System honored RMC with the “Business Partner of the Year” award. This recognition exemplifies the fact that through the years RMC has been much more than a prison in Union County – they have been a true partner to the surrounding community. The staff look forward to continuing this program in 2014, and hope to reach even more students over the next year.
Region III - SFRC's Corrections Emergency Response Team gets SWAT Certified
South Florida Reception Center's (SFRC) Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT) was invited to attend the Miami Dade “SWAT School,” which provides Law Enforcement staff with the training necessary to become SWAT Certified. The certification program is very intensive and only graduates approximately 35%-45% of the officers who enter the class. There were 28 Law Enforcement Officers from various agencies that started this journey, with only 12 officers graduating upon its completion. Although the experience was challenging, 5 of the 12 graduates were Department of Corrections CERT members. These successful participants represented the Department of Corrections in a positive manner and displayed the recognizable professionalism of the staff in this agency.