June 9, 2015
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Published June 8, 2015
By Julie Jones
To view the story online, visit: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-viewpoint-rehab-20150608-story.html.
In an opinion published on June 4, entitled "Florida's High Incarceration Rate Is Unfair to Taxpayers", author Julia L. Johnson submits that Florida must invest in proven measures to lower the future cost of incarceration and reduce recidivism in our state. I wholeheartedly agree.
For too long, the department has operated in a way that focused more on managing the time spent in our facilities, than on preparing inmates for the day they return to their community.
I believe that our role goes far beyond traditional incarceration and our goal should be to change lives every single day.
Today, the department is embracing a new methodology that focuses on transformative rehabilitation.
This new approach to incarceration will shift the way Florida defines success in our institutional programming as well as our community supervision and probation initiatives.
We believe that transformative rehabilitation, and subsequently less crime, begins on the first day of incarceration.
Every inmate should have an individualized plan that addresses their specific needs, ensuring that their incarceration and supervision is a truly rehabilitative process.
The department's transformative rehabilitation model is not limited to our institutions, but also will be adopted by our probation offices.
Our goal is to provide them with the proper guidance and support to ensure that once they walk out of our prisons, they don't come back.
I am confident that through this new approach to corrections, Florida will continue to move in the right direction.
Julie L. Jones is secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.