| Press Release
May 22, 2007
|For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
Tallahassee—Today, Department of Corrections’ Secretary James R. McDonough announced the revision of the Agency’s mission statement to read as follows:
To protect the public safety, to ensure the safety of Department personnel, and to provide proper care and supervision of all offenders under our jurisdiction while assisting, as appropriate, their reentry into society.
The Department of Corrections currently supervises more than 240,000 inmates and offenders. “You will note the renewed emphasis on the preparation of inmates for reentry into society as part of our mission,” the Secretary said. “This is an anti-crime measure of the utmost importance to our state.”
The Department’s goal is to bring the recidivism* rate down from its current rate of 32 percent to 20 percent by 2012.
“We hope to make Florida the leader in the nation in reducing the number of those who recommit crimes and return to prison,” McDonough added.
Almost 90 percent of the people now in Florida’s prisons will one day be released. Within three years of release, approximately one third will return to the Florida prison system for committing a new crime.
“For each inmate who returns to prison, we can be sure that a number of crimes were committed to cause that return,” McDonough explained. “Conversely, if we can get the recidivism rate down, the probability is that fewer crimes are committed and the public safety is increased.”
With this critical change in mission, the Secretary also charged the Department’s Director of Department Initiatives, Hieteenthia “Tina” Hayes, with implementing and evaluating department efforts to enable and encourage offenders to successfully reenter society.
Hayes has held a number of significant positions in the agency. In addition to being a warden, she has held the positions of Director of Institutions, Director of Probation and Deputy Secretary.
“Governor Crist’s decision to restore voting rights shows his interest in lowering the crime rate while doing what is fair for those who have paid their debt to society,” said McDonough. “Our focus is on ensuring inmates are prepared to reenter society and lead productive, crime-free lives. We believe our efforts will make communities safer, and over time, reduce the burdens that repeat offenders place on the criminal justice system and the taxpayer’s pocketbook.”
*This measure shows the percentage of those re-incarcerated for a new offense or technical violation within three years of release.