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Orange County, Florida, Jail Educational and Vocational Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 1997
15 pages
Publication Series
The Orange County, Florida, Corrections Division provides unusually intensive educational and vocational programs to most inmates in its 3,300-bed jail.
Staffed by 70 full-time instructors, programs include adult basic education, preparation for the general equivalency diploma, vocational training, life skills development, psychoeducation groups, and substance abuse education. Courses are carefully tailored to the short periods of time jail inmates are incarcerated and typically run 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Educational and vocational programming is the central component of a package of three interrelated innovations designed to reduce corrections costs, improve inmate conduct, and lower recidivism. In addition to educational and vocational programming, this package includes direct supervision in facilities architecturally designed to allow maximum direct contact between staff and inmates without physical barriers and behavioral incentives in the form of valuable privileges inmates earn if they participate in programs and avoid misconduct. The Corrections Division finances the innovations from the inmate welfare fund, local and Federal grants, and State education disbursements to the county school board for teaching adult basic education. Evidence suggests the combination of educational and vocational programming, direct supervision, and behavioral incentives has reduced staffing needs, construction costs, and violent incidents and has increased inmate educational levels and job readiness. The establishment of a similar approach in other jurisdictions is discussed. 7 notes, 3 exhibits, and 7 photographs

Date Published: December 1, 1997