September 19, 2011
| For More Information
Contact: Gretl Plessinger
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary announced today that Hernando Correctional Institution has become the state’s fifth Faith and Character-based (FCB) prison. All of the adult female inmates now at Hernando CI have specifically requested to be placed in a FCB prison.
“Changing the mission of Hernando CI to a Faith and Character-Based institutions provides inmates with more tools to succeed when they’re released, including mentoring and other self-betterment programs,” said Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker.
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.
Preliminary recidivism studies indicate inmates who participate in FCB programs are less likely to return to prison. In addition, while in prison, FCB inmates have fewer fights and get fewer disciplinary reports.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of Faith and Character-based prisons, and any organization interested in providing programming or any women interested in becoming mentors to an inmate at Hernando CI may call Chaplain Edward Mitchell at (352) 754-6715, X-153. Mentors will fill out an application, complete a background check and orientation, and be matched up with an inmate.
“Mentors help our inmates prepare for returning to their communities by bettering themselves, similarly to how a mother would guide a daughter,” said Hernando CI Chaplain Edward Mitchell, who coordinates volunteers. Warden Mary Holcomb adds, “The inmates are interested in making character changes and are willing to work toward them,” noting that accepting help from the community and giving back in kind is part of the process.
To be eligible for placement in a FCB prison, inmates must:
Hernando CI, located in the city of Brooksville, has a population of approximately 430 inmates. The other FCB institutions in Florida include Glades CI, Hillsborough CI, Lawtey CI and Wakulla CI, which recently converted the adjacent Wakulla CI Annex to a Faith and Character-based facility.
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.
For more information, contact Public Affairs Director Gretl Plessinger at (850) 778-6758.