Wakulla Correctional Institution Dedication as Faith- and Character-Based Institution Ceremony
November 23, 2005
Wakulla Correctional Institution (Wakulla) now becomes Florida's third, and the nation's largest Faith- and Character-Based Institution.
Admittance to Wakulla is voluntary, as is program participation by the inmates. Entry into the program does not depend upon the inmate's faith preference or lack thereof, but rather on his or her behavior and desire to participate in the available special programs.
Wakulla has a capacity of 1622 inmates. Faith- and Character-Based activities will take place each day of the week during daylight hours. During normal work hours, inmates will be assigned to regular work assignments or education classes.
Two other faith- and character-based institutions in Florida - Lawtey and Hillsborough Correctional Institutions - house 780 male inmates and 292 female inmates, respectively.
The enthusiasm for Faith- and Character-Based programs has been overwhelming, evidenced by the more than 300 inmates on a waiting list to enter such a program.
Of the more than 15,000 volunteers statewide, more than 600 support the Wakulla program with services and other resources.
Programs available to inmates include Victim Impact Panels, life skills, personal growth, family life, parenting, AA, NA, mentoring, anger management and MAD DADS.
Many different faiths will be represented at Wakulla, including inmates with no faith preference. Some of the faiths include Christianity, Muslim, Jehovah's Witness, Seventh Day Adventist, Judaism, Mormonism, Nation of Islam and Buddhism.
State funds may be expended for programs that further secular goals, but not for programs that further religious indoctrination. All related religious materials are donated.
While too soon to calculate recidivism rates, inmates in Faith- and Character-Based programs have proven to have fewer fights, get fewer disciplinary reports, and may even have fewer crisis mental health events (seasonal depression, anxiety attacks, explosive anger, etc.).
Twenty-one states are operating or developing faith based residential programs, but among these:
Florida is the only state with an entirely Faith- and Character-Based institution.
Florida is the only state where the duration of the program can last until release. The duration for other states is 12-18 months.