August 15, 2012
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Panama City, Fla.- The Florida Department of Corrections continues to confidently push forward with a new initiative to help former inmates succeed as community members. This new and innovative effort has been named Town Hall Meetings and another just happened here in Panama City today at Gulf Coast State College Student Union East Conference Center.
The goal of these meetings is to help establish a solid line of communication between the Department of Corrections and all Florida communities to discuss and plan for former inmates re-entering society.
“Having a good support system is critical when inmates re-enter their community,” said Secretary Ken Tucker. “Family support and community involvement reduce the chances of an offender re-offending, therefore strengthening the community and allowing the offender to really contribute to society.”
Florida has a 30 percent recidivism rate, which means ex-offenders recommit crimes in Florida after leaving the custody and supervision of the Department.
In 2011, the Department oversaw and housed 102,000 inmates and managed 150,000 offenders on community supervision. Florida is the third largest prison system in the United States.
The Office of Re-Entry’s mission is to provide inmates and offenders with comprehensive programs and services that will assist in the successful re-entry into the community, thereby reducing recidivism while enhancing public safety, and promoting post-release success.
The three main goals of the Department’s Office of Re-Entry are to:
“The re-entry process impacts every Floridian, regardless of a personal connection a citizen has through employment or a family member,” said Deputy Mike Crews. “Every community has a stake in this process because when these offenders re-enter society, they are living in the same community that you call home. It is in everyone’s best interest to make sure these ex-offenders have the tools and skills to become a contributing member of the community we live in.”
Citizens who were unable to attend the meeting may contact the Department about Re-Entry efforts using this email, Reentryefforts@mail.dc.state.fl.us or go to the Re-Entry website at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/ reentry/index.shtml.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 25,000 members statewide, oversees more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 150,000 offenders in the community.