November 23, 2005
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
~Wakulla Correctional Institution will be the largest faith- and
character-based institution in the nation~
CRAWFORDVILLE - Governor Jeb Bush and Department of Corrections Secretary James V. Crosby, Jr., today announced the conversion of Wakulla Correctional Institution to an entirely faith- and character-based institution. Once converted, Wakulla Correctional Institution will be the largest faith- and character-based institution in the nation.
"Faith- and character-based institutions help build an inspirational foundation for inmates, providing them with skills and the will to redirect their lives," said Governor Bush. "For motivated individuals, institutions like these make a tremendous difference and help create a pathway out of the criminal justice system and into a productive life."
Faith- and character-based institutions invite secular charitable organizations and religious organizations to mentor inmates and offer services designed to achieve an inner and outer transformation of the inmates. Instruction and training allows inmates to incorporate their personal convictions and emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility, work, education, substance abuse treatment and peer support. The ultimate goal is reduced recidivism and a smoother transition into society, so that rehabilitated offenders can become productive citizens.
Enrollment is voluntary and religious faith is not considered in determining an inmate's eligibility for a faith- and character-based institution. The duration of an inmate's stay in the program is not limited. In 2005, there were more than 750 inmates participating in faith- and character-based dormitories at eight different institutions and more than 1,000 inmates participating in programs at Florida's two faith- and character-based institutions - Lawtey Correctional Institution and Hillsborough Correctional Institution.
More than 600 community volunteers from both secular and religious organizations will support Wakulla Correctional Institution with services and resources. The early success of similar programs is demonstrated by far fewer disciplinary reports per inmate.
More than 15,000 community volunteers from education, character, and faith-based organizations work with the Department of Corrections statewide. Florida is the only state with entire institutions dedicated to this concept and has the most prison beds assigned to a faith- and character-based program.
"People think that once someone goes to prison, there is no hope," Secretary Crosby said. "Florida's faith- and character-based institutions create relationships between inmates and volunteers that extend beyond the inmates' incarceration, so they have a strong support system in place once they are released, encouraging them to succeed and contribute to society."
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 26,000 statewide, oversees nearly 90,000 inmates and supervises nearly 150,000 in the community. Visit our Web site at www.dc.state.fl.us.