For Immediate Release
July 25, 2002
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
Governor Jeb Bush today congratulated the Department of Corrections and Secretary Michael Moore on being awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal departments. The grant is through the new Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative and is aimed at reducing recidivism by helping inmates transition from prison to the community. The goal of this project is an extension of the Department's goal of using all available resources and partnerships to enhance the services available to inmates who are in the transition process.
"When inmates get out of Florida's prisons, we want them to stay out," the Governor said. "This project affords the department the opportunity to teach the skills needed to stay on the right side of the law."
Moore said the grant money will be used to develop a reentry program designed to reduce recidivism among serious and violent offenders returning to Palm Beach County. He said the department will work in partnership with the Palm Beach County Workforce Development Board, Inc., as well as with state and local agencies and community-based and faith-based organizations.
The reentry program will target offenders between the ages of 18 and 35 who have been released under supervision and are returning to Palm Beach County. Moore said inmates participating in the program will benefit from job training and placement, education, counseling, and life skills programs beginning before their release and continuing after their return to the community.
"Young serious and violent offenders are at great risk of being rearrested within six months of their release," Moore said. "One of the reasons is the extremely low literacy levels among this population, so adult basic education and GED completion will be a centerpiece of the program."
Moore said of the target population of 60 offenders (both male and female), about 63 percent have only a basic or functional literacy level and 71 percent do not have a GED or high school diploma. He said a majority also will need anger management, substance abuse counseling, help finding appropriate housing.
Florida is the recipient of one of 68 grants that have been awarded for this three-year program. Oversight for Florida's project will be coordinated by the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission/Palm Beach County Workforce Development Board Reentry Subcommittee, and the Project Manager, who will be working for the Office of Program, Transition and Post-release Services. Moore said the department expects to receive the grant funds in October.