The GEO Group, Inc. (GEO), has had a public-private partnership with the State of Florida for close to three decades, operating secure correctional facilities as part of the state’s correctional system and providing needed rehabilitation programs to the justice-involved individuals entrusted to our care.
We work with the state to provide innovative solutions to address Florida’s correctional challenges; and, as a partner with Florida, we are uniquely positioned to deliver enhanced programs designed to reduce recidivism and assist individuals with reentering society as productive and employable citizens. As a services provider for the state, we offer evidence-based programming that is proving to reduce recidivism.
As a longstanding partner to the State of Florida, we currently operate five of the seven contractor-operated correctional facilities in Florida out of a total of 56 state prisons. Within those five partnership facilities, we have successfully helped the state reduce reincarceration rates, meaning fewer people have returned to custody after leaving a GEO-operated facility.
The reduction in reincarceration is thanks, in large part, to one of the innovative solutions that is delivered at the facilities we operate – the GEO Continuum of Care (CoC) program. The CoC program is an enhanced in-custody rehabilitation program that includes academic programs, vocational training, high school equivalency (HSE) and GED programs, and substance abuse treatment, in addition to cognitive behavioral treatment, integrated with post-release support services. The GEO CoC is tailored to meet the individual needs of those in-custody, which allows personnel to identify specific reentry needs and then provide individuals access to unparalleled post-release services, including support for housing, transportation, employment, treatment services, and a 24/7 case management call center available to all released participants for up to 12 months.
These innovative CoC services are making a difference in the lives of those individuals who take part in the program. In 2019 alone, the facilities GEO operates on behalf of the state:
- Awarded 265 GEDs,
- Achieved 2,155 vocational program completions,
- Logged 9,529 hours of individual cognitive behavioral sessions with 3,478 individuals,
- Served 2,675 returning citizens with post-release services in the community, including receiving 56,456 calls in our post-release call center,
- Provided over $1 million in post-release funding to assist released individuals with housing, clothing, food, transportation, and job placement assistance, and
- Helped ensure that 39 percent of CoC post-release participants gained employment following release.
These are impressive numbers, but the real difference is in the lives that are positively changed. These results are not possible without dedicated staff that believes in this mission and works every day to make it happen. As a part of Florida’s correctional system, GEO not only wants to ensure that we’re doing everything we can for those entrusted to our care, but we also want to successfully help the state reduce reincarceration rates.
In fact, the data clearly demonstrates that the investments the state is making in the GEO CoC program continues to deliver results. The five facilities we operate in partnership with the state released more individuals in 2019 than in 2018, and due to increased CoC programming in those facilities, fewer people returned to prison. In total, in comparing 2019 to 2018, there was a 25% overall reduction in return-to-custody rates for those released from the five facilities.
The success we help to achieve in reducing recidivism at these facilities is the state’s success. We’re honored to have been a longtime partner with the State of Florida, and we are proud of the difference we are making in the lives of those entrusted to our care.
Derrick Schofield, Ph.D., is the Executive Vice President of Continuum of Care and Reentry for The GEO Group, Inc. He previously served as Commissioner of Corrections for the State of Tennessee. For more information about GEO, its recidivism solutions and some of the faces behind our proven success record, visit WeAreGEO.com.