September 29, 2016
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Gainesville, Fla. – The Florida Department of Corrections today highlights the development and implementation of a unique offender program for offenders in Alachua County. Principals Regarding Employment and Professionalism (PREP) brings together various resources from agencies and organizations in the local community to offer offenders under Department supervision positive opportunities to develop themselves and lead successful, law-abiding lives.
The program’s mission, according Department staff behind its creation, is “…to help students reach their fullest extent possible through a functional blend of academics and life skills.” Participating offenders enroll in a series of classes focusing on managing personal finances, selecting and managing a household, caring for personal needs, basic safety and social skills. These individuals, in addition to other self-developmental activities, conduct mock job interviews, prepare resumes, practice professional dialogue and receive education regarding law enforcement’s role in the community.
Secretary Julie Jones said, “I am exceptionally proud of our community corrections staff in Gainesville for their creativity and dedication to our mission. PREP is a fantastic example of how our officers build long lasting relationships with our community partners while contributing to offender successes and continuing to decrease Florida’s historically low recidivism rate.”
The six week program originated in the Gainesville West Community Corrections office, where probation officers and staff sought a method of helping connect offenders with developmental resources available to them locally. The initial class saw six graduates and displayed tremendous potential for expansion. Various local groups responded to calls for involvement, and the program now offers a variety of courses focusing on life skills, including submissions from CareerSource North Florida, City of Gainesville Public Works, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Department of Health, Meridian Healthcare and representatives from the Alachua County Re-Entry Coalition.
The current PREP program is eight weeks long and began August 5. Classes take place every Monday from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Graduating offenders receive a certificate signed by the instructor and a supervisor. These certificates are included in the offenders’ files and taken into consideration when they meet other criteria for early termination of probation.
For more information regarding the Office of Community Corrections, please visitwww.dc.state.fl.us/orginfo/ccor.html. To learn more about the Gainesville Circuit Office, visit: www.dc.state.fl.us/facilities/comcor/08.html.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs 24,000 members statewide, incarcerates approximately 99,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.