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Myrtle October Lee County’s Efforts to Reduce Recidivism and Promote Successful Reintegration

In recent years, Lee County has seen a growing awareness with regards to reducing recidivism, and promoting successful reintegration for formerly incarcerated individuals. This is in line with the rest of the country, where counties across the US have guided the establishment of reentry programs, partnerships with the nonprofit and private sectors, and a focus on rehabilitation and support services. Overall, Florida has a relatively low recidivism rate compared to the rest of the country, of just 25.4%, while Lee County in particular had a slightly lower average rate in 2017, of around 23.9%. This is significantly lower than the average number, which has been declining in the past two decades, but still sits at around 44%.

HOW TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM

One key aspect of these efforts has been the development of reentry programs specifically designed to address the needs of the formerly incarcerated population. These programs often provide a range of services, including job training, education and skill development, substance abuse treatment, and mental health counseling. By addressing the underlying factors that contribute to recidivism, these programs aim to improve outcomes for individuals returning to the community after incarceration.
One of the challenges that many formerly incarcerated individuals face upon reentry is the lack of access to basic necessities like clothing, money, and housing. These resources are often critical for establishing stability and success in the community, but they can be difficult to come by for individuals who have limited resources and support networks.
To address these challenges, it is important that local reentry programs provide access to these resources, or otherwise connect individuals with organizations that can help. This could include providing clothing vouchers, helping individuals access temporary housing or transitional housing programs, and assisting with financial planning and budgeting.
In addition to these targeted reentry programs, Lee County has also sought to involve the nonprofit and private sectors in its efforts to reduce recidivism. One such program is called Operation New Hope. Through their efforts, they have calculated an average return on investment of $2.86, meaning that the previously incarcerated individuals are contributing more to the economy and taxes by being taken care of upon reentry, than it costs to run the program by almost 3 times. Over the years, they have helped more than 9000 people thrive in society again.
These partnerships have included everything from job training and employment opportunities to housing and other supportive services. By leveraging the resources and expertise of these organizations, Lee County has been able to expand the scope and impact of its efforts.
By offering employment and job training opportunities, these sectors can help formerly incarcerated individuals build the skills and experience they need to succeed in the workforce. This could include internships, apprenticeships, or job placements. It also helps foster a feeling of acceptance in the community for the formerly incarcerated, something that is often overlooked.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

Many studies agree that these programs are necessary in order to further improve the lives of everyone involved. A great resource is the Prison Policy Initiative. They curate a long list of research, articles and other arguments for these principles, with many acclaimed and respected professors, researchers and individuals arguing for these continued efforts.
Nonprofits, for-profits, and private sector organizations are found to provide an incredibly beneficial range of supportive services and resources. These initiatives help the formerly incarcerated individuals transition successfully back into the community, and includes housing assistance, financial counseling, and other types of support.
By working together, these sectors can develop and implement innovative programs and initiatives that address the needs of the formerly incarcerated population in new and creative ways. This could include using technology or other innovative approaches to improve access to services or create new opportunities.
Finally, these sectors can work together to advocate for policy and systems change at the local, state, and national levels. This could include supporting legislation that addresses the needs of the formerly incarcerated population or working to reform systems and policies that contribute to recidivism.
Partnerships between the nonprofit, for-profit, and private sectors can help to bring about positive change and prosperity for the formerly incarcerated population and promote successful reintegration into the community.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Lee County’s efforts to reduce recidivism and promote successful reintegration have demonstrated promising results. While there is still work to be done, these initiatives are helping to break the cycle of recidivism and provide individuals with the tools and resources they need to build better lives for themselves and their families.
Myrtle October

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