May 12, 2009
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil and other prison administrators attended the dedication ceremony of Glades Correctional Institution (CI) today, as it officially became Florida’s fourth Faith and Character-based (FCB) prison. Glades CI, along with its satellite facilities, will house approximately 1,600 eligible inmates who have specifically requested to be placed in a FCB prison.
“We’ve had a waiting list of inmates who want to take advantage of the opportunities a Faith and Character-based institution offers them, and the opening of Glades will reduce that list and extend our faith-based initiative to south Florida,” said Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil.
Before the conversion of Glades CI, there were 10,890 inmates on a waiting list who requested to be placed in a faith and character-based prison. The Florida prison system currently houses more than 100,000 inmates.
The mission of FCB institutions is to help inmates build moral character, develop spiritual resources, and acquire life skills that will lead to positive behavior both behind bars and after release. An inmate’s faith orientation, or lack thereof, is not considered in determining admission to a FCB institution and the programs at the facility do not attempt to convert an offender toward a particular faith or religious preference. Their ultimate goal is to prepare inmates for successful re-entry into society so they don’t return to prison. Currently, 70% of inmates at FCB prisons in Florida identify themselves as Christian (non-Roman Catholic), 11% no religious affiliation, 10% Roman Catholic, three percent Muslim, one percent Jewish, and six percent other, including Wiccan, Rastafarian, etc. While it is too soon to calculate recidivism rates, inmates in FCB programs have proven to have fewer fights and get fewer disciplinary reports.
To be eligible for placement in a FCB prison, inmates must:
Glades CI, located in the city of Belle Glade in Palm Beach County, is the first FCB prison in south Florida. The other three include Wakulla CI (adult male –1,756 beds), Hillsborough CI (adult female – 292 beds), and Lawtey CI (adult male – 835 beds). In addition to the four FCB prisons, Florida also houses inmates in seven Faith-Based and self-improvement dorms at the following prisons: Everglades, Gulf, Polk, Tomoka, Lancaster, Union and Lowell correctional institutions.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of Faith and Character-based prisons, and any organization interested in providing programming at Glades C.I. is encouraged to call 561-829-1400.
For more information, contact Public Affairs Director Gretl Plessinger at (850) 778-6758.