U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida is Committed to Reducing Recidivism through Reentry Programs
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida is committed to reducing recidivism and helping formerly incarcerated individuals contribute to their communities.
During National Reentry Week, Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, recognizes the collective efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. District Court, U.S. Probation, the Federal Public Defenders Office, law enforcement and community stakeholders, to implement local reentry initiatives and support returning citizens.
“By coming together to help returning citizens reintegrate into society we are making our criminal justice system smarter, less expensive, and more effective,” stated U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer. “Successful reentry initiatives that provide returning citizens with the tools, skills, and opportunities they need to succeed when they return to their communities will have tremendous implications for the safety of our neighborhoods, the health of our economy, and the strength of our neighborhoods. If we can reduce recidivism by helping motivated individuals successfully reenter society and become productive members of our communities, we can reduce crime in our streets.”
Each year, more than 600,000 citizens return to our neighborhoods after serving time in federal and state prisons, and another 11.4 million individuals cycle through local jails. The long-term impact of a criminal record prevents many returning citizens from obtaining employment, housing, a quality education, adequate health care, personal identification and even financial credit. These often-crippling barriers can contribute to a cycle of incarceration that makes it difficult for even the most well intentioned individuals to continue on the right path and avoid reentering the criminal justice system. Within the Southern District of Florida comprehensive reentry reforms have been implemented to promote the successful reintegration of returning citizens and reduce recidivism. These efforts will help those who have paid their debt to society prepare for substantive opportunities beyond the prison gates, promote family unity, contribute to the health of our economy, advance public safety and sustain the strength of our communities.
This month, the Southern District of Florida launched its first ever Reentry Court, known as the Court-Assisted Re-Entry (CARE) Initiative. The CARE Initiative is a problem-solving, collaborative effort between U.S. District Court, the U.S. Probation Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Federal Public Defender representatives, and a Department of Justice Re-Entry Specialist. The CARE Team’s mission is to: help those returning from prison to become productive members of society by providing coordination for job training and placement, housing assistance, educational support, and the medical, substance abuse and mental health referrals; promote community safety by reducing recidivism and victimization; and reduce taxpayer spending on incarceration. Through bi-monthly court sessions, the CARE Team assess each participants’ progress, address any issues with his or her reentry, decides whether wrap-around services can be provided, and determines appropriate rewards and/or sanctions.
In 2011, The United States Attorney’s Office established the Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) to address violent crime, gang activity and firearms offenses that plague communities in the Southern District. The VRP employs a holistic, three-pronged approach to violence reduction – one focused not only on enforcement, but also on prevention and reentry. Utilizing this multi-faceted approach, the VRP aims to reduce crime and promote safer and more resilient communities.
As part of the reentry prong of the VRP, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, alongside the Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Probation and non-profit service providers have conducted Reentry and Resource (“in-reach”) Meetings at the Federal Detention Center and Federal Correctional Institution in the Southern District. The meetings provide inmates preparing to be released from incarceration with the tools and information they need to navigate their successful reentry into society and reduce their risk of recidivism. Since 2013, more than 535 individuals have attended the meetings and received a Reentry Resource Guide. The most recent in-reach meeting was held this past Monday at the Federal Detention Center. Additionally, since 2012, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has been actively involved with Reentry Fairs at state correctional institutions and has connected with more than 3,261 inmates before their release.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our community partners also support the South Florida Reentry Center Hub, a traveling one-stop service center for returning citizens and their families. The Reentry Center Hub provides returning citizens with easy, centralized access to a variety of reentry services within their local communities. Since 2014, Reentry Center Hub events, held in Fort Pierce, Miami Gardens, Liberty City and Goulds, Florida, have reached more than 630 returning citizens and their families. On April 27, 2016, the Reentry Center Hub provided information and services to 120 individuals.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Corrections continue to host Job Preparedness Workshops for returning citizens. The workshops provide individuals with the information they need to seek, gain and maintain lawful employment. The curriculum focuses on a variety of areas, including the development of resume writing, application and interview skills. A workshop was held yesterday afternoon and since 2013 the workshops have offered services to 58 returning citizens.
The goal of the reentry initiatives is to build a safer, more equal and more inclusive America.
Additional information regarding the CARE and VRP initiatives is available at email@example.com or by calling (305) 961-9134.