The first week of May is celebrated as National Correctional Officers and Employees Week, recognizing the contributions of correctional officers and personnel who work in jails, prisons, and community corrections across the country. In addition spotlighting individual correctional officers, we would like to recognize the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) as a whole for their years of partnership and for their most recent support during these challenging times.
As Florida’s largest state agency, and the third largest prison system in the country, FDC employs 24,000 members, incarcerates approximately 94,000 inmates and supervises nearly 161,000 offenders in the community.
Since 2006, the FDC has trusted Operation New Hope and invested in our reentry model. A significant portion of our annual budget is administered by the FDC through performance-based funding grants. Through our unique partnership, Operation New Hope successfully delivers pre-release services to 17 FDC facilities in Florida. By meeting with inmates prior to release, we are able to bridge the reentry divide and ensure adequate housing, transportation, and job training. The success of Operation New Hope’s partnership with the FDC is evident in the transformation stories of our clients, healthier communities and families, reduced recidivism, and better public safety.
And now, despite the challenges of a global pandemic, the FDC has continued to provide unwavering support. The agency has been working with Operation New Hope to develop program strategies for this period of uncertainty and, most importantly, has continued its funding. For this, we are so grateful.
We would like to specifically highlight the strong leadership of FDC Secretary Mark Inch. Since taking office just over a year ago, Secretary Inch has shown compassion and provided wise direction in his administration of the agency. Most recently, we were particularly moved by the two heartfelt letters he wrote to the Friends, Family and Loved Ones of Incarcerated Individuals during COVID. Both messages show that his thoughts and prayers are with all under his care and clearly demonstrate the steps the FDC has taken taking to ensure the health and well-being of all inmates, staff, and the greater community. (Click here to read his Message to Families and Second Message to Families)
Thank you Secretary Inch and thank you all those who serve the Florida Department of Corrections. We celebrate you this week and always.