In today's prison system, very few vocational trades and educational classes are offered for the incarcerated. There are 49 major institutions in Florida, and only a handful of institutions have more than one vocational trade. There are even institutions that do not have a single trade to offer their inmate population.
When you look at the minimum amount of the trades that FDC offers close to 100,000 inmates, one cannot help but understand how the inmate population is disenfranchised. The average institution only has one trade with an average capacity of 15-20 inmates per class, the percentage of inmates that profit off of a vocational trade equates to about 20 students out of approximately 1,200 inmates per institution, which is a percentage of 1.6 per institution.
The issue is multi-layered as different factors create this anemic situation. The layers consist of:
1.) Administrative restrictions
2.) Limited FDC funding
3.) Teacher availability
4.) Incentive to participate
5.) Perceived security and movement concerns
6.) Unused qualified inmate facilitators
A handful of institutions have multiple programs, but those are very few in the overall scheme of vocational training. For example, an institution like Avon Park CI (it has marine mechanics, welding, cabinetry, printing, wastewater treatment, and two PRIDE facilities), which affects roughly 200 inmates. This would mean that out of a population of a thousand inmates, only about 20% participate in some type of trade advancement curriculum. Sadly, these institutions are the exception, and by no means the rule.
Society-First seeks to be a platform to advocate for reform and to aid men and women in making a positive transition back into society. We are looking for solutions that will greatly reduce recidivism while helping society embrace its returning citizens.
We invite those who have been affected by this epidemic, whether an ex-offender, inmate, family member, victim, church, correctional officer, or simply a citizen to share their personal experience, solutions, or questions concerning all aspects of the criminal justice system.
Please, provide any comments, testimonies, facts, or points that you want Society-First to look further into. Send us your story, or videogram by emailing us. Check the category that best fits the point of your concerns and/or comments. We look forward to hearing your feedback on what's important to Society-First.