The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and our partners continue to take significant steps to reduce recidivism and help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully contribute to their communities.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, recognizes the collective efforts of the South Florida Reentry Task Force, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. District Court, U.S. Probation, Federal Public Defenders Office, law enforcement and diverse community stakeholders, to implement local reentry initiatives and support returning citizens.
“It is incumbent upon us all to support our returning citizens, because their success means a stronger, safer community for everyone,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg. “We cannot overstate the invaluable impact of programs and initiatives that offer services to our returning citizens. Having paid their debt to society, formerly incarcerated individuals should have the tools they need to gain lawful employment, obtain stable housing and support their families. South Florida reentry initiatives are designed to tear down the barriers and promote reintegration.”
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 initiatives 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.
Last year, 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 weekly court sessions, the CARE Team assesses each participants’ progress, addresses any issues with his or her reentry, decides whether wrap-around services can be provided, and determines appropriate rewards and/or sanctions. Earlier this year, the CARE Team celebrated the first graduate of the Reentry Court initiative.
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 both the Federal Detention Center and the Federal Correctional Institution located 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 965 individuals have attended the meetings and received a Reentry Resource Guide. Acting U.S. Attorney Greenberg joined the most recent in-reach meeting on April 25, 2017 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 continue to 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 856 returning citizens and their families.
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. Since 2013, the workshops have offered services to 58 returning citizens.
Tomorrow, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will host a Re-Entry Simulation to offer more than 60 members of the community an opportunity to experience the challenges that returning citizens experience, while reintegrating into society while on probation and supervised release. Last fall, the Office hosted two successful Re-Entry Simulation events.
The goal of the Office’s reentry initiatives is to build a fair, safe and more inclusive local community.
Additional information regarding the CARE and VRP initiatives is available at email@example.com (link sends e-mail) or by calling (305) 961-9134.