September 16, 2008
For More Information
Contact: Gretl Plessinger
Polk City, Florida -- Florida Department of Corrections (DC) Secretary Walt McNeil announced today that the newly acquired Demilley Correctional Institution in Polk County will be the first prison in Florida used exclusively to prepare inmates for work release and their successful re-entry into society. Demilley CI, which was formerly a Department of Juvenile Justice facility, is slated to open in late 2008. It will house about 380 minimum to medium custody, adult male prison inmates with sentences of three years or less to serve.
“We’re vitally interested in successful re-entry for ex-offenders because a third of the 40,000 offenders who leave prison every year return within three years, at a cost to you and me of about $20,000 a year. Any way we can keep them from coming back to prison, and to make a successful life for themselves, will benefit society,” said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil.
Demilley CI will be the first transitional prison in Florida, preparing inmates exclusively for work release through an emphasis on programs such as substance abuse treatment, academic education and re-entry skills. These inmates will have access to library and chaplaincy services as well. Once they complete their programs at Demilley CI, most of the inmates will be sent to work release centers in the surrounding community, where they will work full time jobs and begin paying for their room and board and paying victim’s restitution, while also saving for their eventual release.
The Demilley facility will take over for Polk Correctional Institution as the “parent” institution to various work release centers (WRCs) in the surrounding area including Bartow, Tarpon Springs, Largo and Suncoast work release centers and Bridges of Lakeland.
Demilley CI’s focus is in keeping with the DC’s mission, which includes assisting inmates and offenders, when appropriate, in their successful re-entry into society upon release from prison or probation.