FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                     OJP

JULY 15, 2002                                                                                                             202/307-0703




WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General John Ashcroft announced today that Florida will receive a total of $2,000,000 to support prisoner reentry initiatives. The Florida awards were among 68 grants totaling $100 million to support efforts to ensure public safety and reduce victimization by helping returning offenders become productive members of their communities. Forty-nine states, including Florida, and the District of Columbia and Virgin Islands will receive the funds.


The grants, awarded by the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), are part of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative, an unprecedented collaboration among the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor and Veterans Affairs.  


“By educating and treating offenders, we are not only helping them improve their lives, we are reducing the chance they will return to crime and drug abuse,” said Attorney General Ashcroft.   “My hope is that the reentry programs will improve public safety and reduce the burden on law enforcement and corrections.” 


The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative will build on innovative reentry efforts in states for both juveniles and adults with the goal that these efforts serve as nationwide models. Reentry efforts will begin while offenders are still in correctional facilities, continue through offenders’ transition back into the community and help sustain ex-offenders through services such as employment training and substance abuse and mental health treatment. Efforts will be tailored to any one, or combination of, the following age groups: Youth (ages 14 ‑ 17); Young Adult (ages 18 ‑ 24) and Adult (ages 25+).  These efforts involve close coordination among institutional corrections, law enforcement, community corrections and other community-based service providers.


Within Florida, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) will receive $1,000,000 to partner with the Palm Beach County Workforce Development Board and several state and local agencies to develop a community‑based reentry program, which will focus on public safety, reduction of recidivism among youthful offenders, and a decrease in overall crime rates.


            The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) will receive $1,000,000 and will target offenders between the ages of 15 and 19 who have committed at least one violent felony.  FDJJ will implement the programs in Duval County, Circuit 4 -- serving 25 offenders annually; Miami‑Dade County, Circuit 11 -- serving 100 offenders annually, and Hillsborough County, Circuit 13 -- serving 25 offenders annually.


“These programs are all tailored to meet the unique needs of the state and local communities,” added Ashcroft.  “But they draw together different disciplines to develop state-of-the art, integrated reentry efforts.”


The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative is designed to address all three stages involved in returning an offender to the community.  The process involves education, treatment and life skills programs while offenders are in institutions, services and supervision as they reenter the community and networks of agencies, and individuals to support offenders as they become productive and law-abiding members of their communities.


More information about the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative and other OJP programs is available on OJP’s Website at .  Media should contact OJP’s Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.


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