Prisoner reentry programs are generally of two types: Faith and Non-faith. Recently, both types of programs have come under increasing scrutiny and interest since these type of programs purport to hold the promise to lessen the nation’s recidivism rate. While immense policy challenges lie ahead, and fiscal concerns drain state and municipal budgets, the effectiveness and efficiency of such programs should be further analyzed and debated. This research examined five faith-based, male-only programs in central Florida. Detailed qualitative methodology in the format of small focus groups research was conducted. Reentry participants were found to have a high rate of confidence in their faith-based program’s effects on their personal, family and future careers. Individuals also believe the program’s effectiveness, (Abstract needs work) Keywords: faith-based, prisoner, reentry, programs, Florida Introduction
Since the mid 1990’s, local, state and federal policy makers in the criminal justice system have worked to create different systems to ease the transition from jail or prison back to society. Faith and non-faith prisoner reentry programs have been posited to increase the success rate of reentry transition to society. Research conducted among former inmates show that returning inmates who score on measures of religiosity and spirituality appear to exhibit socially positive behaviors. It is further hypothesized that these socially positive behaviors could hold the key to preventing future recidivism and finally decrease jail and prison population, thus lowering state and federal expenditures (Benda & Corwyn, 1997; Evans, Cullen, Dunaway, & Burton, 1995; Johnson, Jang, Larson, & De Li, 2001; Richard, Bell, & Carlson, 2000; Tittle & Welch, 1983). DONE
Throughout Western history, both incarcerated and returning inmates from jails and prisons have used religious organizations in order to adapt and transition back to society. Religious institutions provide a firm structure allowing an inmate to adjust gradually and with support to society. A majority of faith-based foundations have increasingly provided diverse services such as job placement assistance, shelter, basic food and necessities, mentoring and advice support and treatment for alcohol and drug abuse (Hercik et al., 2004). DONE Literature Review
After leaving jail or prison, former inmates often face severe and exacerbating difficulties with adjustment to the real world. Effective safeguards were utilized by the criminal justice system such as intense supervision upon release and strict monitoring policies to allow for the returning inmates to adjust to society (Listwan et al., 2006). Well-managed and efficient prisoner reentry programs such as work furloughs allow returning prisoners to develop decent job skills paving the way for a smoother transition. 8/27 2013 For most of the states and the federal governent’s criminal justice apparatus, this type of system used and re-used.
Parole boards conitnued to deny releases to current inmates if they are deemed threats to public safety. Simon, (1993) discovered that the ancient methods of rehabilitation conducted while in jail or prison were not effective enough to prevent recidivism. Frequently as hopeful applicants for reentry were unable to find employment, they were refused parole and remained in prison until deemed less of a threat (Listwan al., 2006). DONE As the 1990’s rolled on, instead of meaningful efforts to try and allow for reintegration of returning inmates back to society, the mission of the criminal justice system drifted towards largely supervisory status only (Simon, 1993).
Ethnic and marginal neighborhoods were particularly hard hit for employment prospects due to low levels of educational attainment and career skills, especially upon leaving jail or prison. Once their sentences had been served, the likelihood of a good income from steady employment for former inmates decreased the longer a period spent in incarceration increased (Simon, 1993). DONE Reentry programs in prison and jail ranged from anger management to GED graduation and work furlough programs. Starting from the 1970’s these types of programs were either minimized or outright terminated due to a public outcry over a few highly controversial and publicized incidents (Travis, 2005). Realistically, the public could not believe that deviant and violent individuals locked up in a highly restrictive and punitive environment would abruptly adjust when placed back in society and become normal, working citizens.
Such naïve and well-meaning policies were doomed to disappoint and fail. DONE Beginning with the Clinton administration, officially recognized Prisoner Reentry Programs policies were created with the goal to allow returning inmates to reentrer society more socially well-adjusted (Travis, 2005). Borrowing from previous prison rehabilitation programs, the reentry programs made adjustments and became adaptable to the specific needs of the reentry population. The ultimate goal of any efficient prisoner reentry program is investing in the inmate well enough to allow them to make the effort to prevent re-offending. DONE New Public Management
Christopher Hood (1995) and Christopher Pollitt (1993) have researched that New Public Management (NPM) allows for a more stringent managerial role of government. The managerial role of government is designed to let governments provide a higher level of quality and efficiency in public services, a focus on public accountability and core public service values (Hood, 1995). NPM was created to be oriented towards outcomes using firm management of core state and local budgets. NPM devotees tend to be disinterested in egalitarian ideals such as managing without managers, judicial doctrines of rigidly rule-bound administration and doctrines of self-government by public-service professionals (Hood, 1995). DONE NPM theorists advocate considering citizens as beneficiaries and recipients of public services closely resembling customers and shareholders in the private sector (Pollitt, 1993). NPM principles are not interested in the equitable distribution of social services; rather NPM analyzes the overall quality and efficiency of services (Pollitt, 1993). DONE
Lynn (2006) examined the various definitions of New Public Management and created the analytical model of New Public Management which consisted of several guiding principles: 1) A business-oriented approach to government
2) A quality and performance oriented approach to public management 3) An emphasis on improved public service delivery and functional responsiveness 4) An institutional separation of public demand functions (councils, citizens’ charters), public provision (public management boards) and public service production functions (back offices, outsourcing, agenification, privatization) 5) A linkage of public demand, provision, and supply units by transactional devices (performance management, internal contract management, corporatization, intergovernmental covenanting and contracting, contracting out) and quality management Critcism of reentry programs generally ackownledge that reentry programs are not very successful because many of them do not adhere to business practices, responsible and transparent accountability and lack emphasis on improved public service delivery as a serious approach to their program.
Lynn (2006) emphasized these points with regard to NPM and its relevance to prisoner reentry programs cannot be overstated. At the core of the reentry problem, reentry programs are involed with a persistent dilemma occurring in our revolving door criminal justice system: “How can we make sure our returning inmates can effectively reconnect back to society?” This research will evaluate the utility and usage of client-oriented services (COS) in five faith-based prisoner reentry programs. Qualitative interviews were conducted with the five reentry program participants to determine if NPM/COS could be successfully applied to faith-based reentry programs. DONE Client-Oriented Services
In 1992, Osborne and Gaebler’s published Reinventing Government, which jump-started the public sector’s Client-Oriented Services movement with the mission to improve upon government’s delivery of services. In healthcare research this type of service delivery model has been proven useful. When analyzing the quality of nursing care, for example, the variable of client satisfaction serves as a successful outcome indicator using Likert surveys and questionnaires (Lawrence and Laferriere, 1993). As healthcare costs have increased so has competition for consumer needs and concerns (Lawrence and Laferriere, 1993). DONE Surveys in healthcare allow the measurement of the appropriateness and quality of services by identifying client concerns and integrating them into quality assurance activities (McNeese, 1988). Prisoner reentry programs could use similar research to develop indicators and measures which analyze client satisfaction. Once these programs accomplish this goal, advocates of COS assert that agencies tasked with delivering programs that reduce recidivism will in effect be delivering better services. DONE Prisoner Reentry Policy Issues: A Grave Concern
Exiting prison or jail after spending several years inside and returning to society creates no shortage of policy issues for former inmates. Three of the most important policy issues are: Families & children, Post-release employment and housing after release. These three policy issues are most salient when examining the effectiveness and necessity of prisoner reentry programs. Considering the tremendous monetary expense our nation expends upon the criminal justice correctional system, an analysis and examination of faith-based reentry programs is a prerogative of any diligent and ethical researcher. DONE Policy Issue #1: Family Life 2.0
Complications immediately arise before release because in many states, ex-offenders are warned to not associate or contact anyone as a previous known criminal associate or anyone who has had a prior criminal record (Rhine, Smith and Jackson, 1991). Regretfully, this warning often encompasses families and friends, both limiting their assistance for the ex-con to make a smooth transition and coercing the returning inmate to make tough decisions on how to adjust back to society on their own. DONE Family members who allow a returning inmate to settle into their home can generate anxiety and fear inside the home (Ripley, 2002). Usually, returning inmates will scan for alternatives such as homeless shelters, halfway houses and other community/quasi-government housing (Metraux and Culhane, 2004). Finally, if unable to find adequate housing to meet their needs, they sleep on the streets, exacerbating a chronic homeless problem affecting numerous urban environmets currently (Mumola, 2002). DONE Reconnecting with their families and especially with their children is an extremely stressful initiative for most returning inmates (Johnston 1991, 1993).
Issues of trust and family identity as well as the consternation of new roles and their effect upon young, impressionable minds are the new normal (Johnston, 1991). In 2002, 1 in 45 minors were found to have a parent in prison (Mumola, 2004). As with children, parents in prison experience anxiety, frustration and fear due to the uncertainty of the child’s welfare during their incarceration. Incarcerated parents may not meet or see their children for years and if the incarcerated parents are single, their children could be placed in foster care or with unreliable relatives, creating an uncertain and potentially dangerous future for the children (Hairston and Rollin, 2003). DONE Additionally, huabands and wives of incarcerated individuals suffer from their forced estrangement from each other (Braman, 2002).
Financial and other types of struggles become rampant between spouses, leading to further anger, frustration and stress causing a rift in many instances with the relationship. Finally, infidelity or divorce while in prison can cause complications between married adults (Braman, 2002). DONE Prior research has posited that the institution of marriage is an encouraging predictor of prevention of recidivism. It is hypothesized that the stronger the emotional bonds between a married couple, the lower the likelihood of future criminal activity (Horney, Osgood and Marshall, 1995). It is also theorized that a tightly bound, cohesive family unit could exert enough positive stress onto an ex-inmate and prevent them from engaging in antisocial behavior (Loeber and Farrington, 1998, 2001). DONE Policy Issue #2: Housing after reentry
Viable housing options for returning inmates have posed a significant challenge to policy makers for years now (Travis, 2005). Generally, returning inmates are able to bunk or share rooms with friends, family members or other types of close relatives whom they can make such a request. In New York City, the Vera Institute kept track of 49 returning inmates released from New York state prisons and found that 40 of the former inmates lived with a family or friend in the 30 days after leaving prison (Nelson, et. al, 1999). DONE The Urban Institute discovered that 49% of respondents among 153 individuals reported sleeping at a family member’s house the first night of their release (Travis and Visher, 2003). The study found that 20% were living with a spouse or other type of partner and about 33% were living with their mother or stepmother (Travis and Visher, 2003). 7% of the study’s respondents admitted that they slept at a friend’s house on the first night of their release (Travis and Visher, 2003). DONE Policy Issue # 3: Post-Reentry Employment
In 2006, the Department of Justice published figures which showed that while approximately 750,000 inmates were admitted to prison, 713,000 inmates exited back to society (Martin, 2011). Ex cons return to their neighborhoods lacking critical thinking, problem-solving and communicative skills necessary to prevent a return to prison (Marbley & Ferguson, 2005). Recidivism is unfortunately highly likely due to a paucity of career-related skills as mentioned (Marbley & Ferguson, 2005). DONE Morani et. al (2011) tracked 122 ex-offenders who participated in Project Re-Connect, a 6-month voluntary prisoner reentry program for inmates returning to society. DONE Social outcomes and their after effects, such as employment, family and child assistance and housing assistance to former inmates were analyzed. A large number of returning inmates requested social outcome assistance when returning from prison or jail (Morani et. al, 2011). TOO RUFF, REDO
Employment in the form of landing a legitimate job is quite possibly the most stressful experience for returning inmates. Research conducted among returning inmates posits that steady employment is an obstinate barrier to recidivism (Sampson and Laub, 1993; Solomon, Johnson, Travis, and McBride, 2004). A significant proportion of prisoner reentry programs have been created specifically for assisting former inmates with salient job and work skills. Additionally, numerous prisons and jails throughout the nation have collaborated with localized businesses and partnerships that allow inmates to have a smoother transition to society. DONE During the period of incarceration, inmates work for either the state or through a contract with a private corporation (Travis, 2005). Abundant examples exist for this type of work: cooking food, prison ground maintainence, laundry and mail sorting. Prison and jail work serves a dual purpose of keeping inmates occupied while inside the walls but also to develop their job skills once they return to society (Mumola, 1999).
For example, in numerous states inmates manufacture and produce modular furniture, license plates and bedding linens for state agencies and residents (Garvey, 1998). DONE In 2008, President Bush signed the Second Chance Act, a major prisoner reentry law for faith and non-faith based reentry organizations (Arungwa & Osho, 2012). Beginning in 2009, Congress and President Obama allocated 25 million dollars in 2009 for municipal prisoner reentry efforts (Arungwa & Osho, 2012). The Ready4Work initiative along with the Second Chance Act appears to show that New Public Management (NPM) partnerships are salient and posit new improvements to the prisoner reentry process (Martin, 2011). DONE Research among returning inmates has theorized that steady employment can have a strict deterrence on potential criminal activity. Immature youth working alongside mature, older mentors in the community could be a viable solution to prevent criminal temptation. Among returning inmates, mentoring and supportive associations upon release could potentially decrease the likelihood that a returning offender will recidivate (Travis, 2005). DONE The State of Florida
Florida has the nation’s fourth largest prison system (after California, Texas and the federal penitentiary system). The Florida Department of Corrections (FLDOC) is responsible for public safety in Florida. With a system of 60 major prisons, which include seven private prisons, the FLDOC administers incarceration for 100,272 inmates (FLDOC, 2013). In addition, FLDOC has over 156 probation offices operating in the state of Florida. In fiscal year 2012-2013 the FLDOC’s yearly operating budget was $2.06 billion (FLDOC, 2013). FLDOC employs 23,700 employees, with most working as Correctional Officers or Correctional Probation Officers (FLDOC, 2013). DONE Faith-based prisoner reentry organizations in Florida
Dunklin Memorial Camp, Okeechobee
Dunklin Memorial Camp (Dunklin) founded and managed by Pastor Mickey and Laura Maye Evans in 1962 (Dunklin Memorial Camp, 2013). With the assistance of the teachings of Christ, Dunklin’s primary purpose for its existence is to allow drug and alcohol abusers assistance with their struggles. The idea that Reverend Dunklin worked on initially was to create a “city” that would provide a “refuge” for the “…spiritual, emotional and physical regeneration” of alcohol and drug abusers (Dunklin Memorial Camp, 2013). Pastor Evans believes in a vision from God which gave him the idea to create a city of refuge for alcohol and drug abusers (Dunklin Memorial Camp, 2013). Dunklin’s primary hypothesis rests on the belief that the Christian approach is the best method by which to eliminate an individual’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol or drugs. DONE Lamb of God, Okeechobee
Lamb of God is a similar faith-based reentry program similar to Dunklin with the only difference being that the men at Lamb of God work off campus, while both Faith Farm and Dunklin’s men work on their respective campuses for extended periods of time (Lamb of God, 2013). In the evening, the men return to Lamb of God’s campus and after supper hold Bible classes, or attend Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotic Anonymous meetings. Some of the men also work on their G.E.D. or take community college classes nearby. Lamb of God allows the men living on its campus a large degree of autonomy, freedom of movement and self-discipline that is rarely found among faith-based programs. Its Executive Director is Michael Lewandowski who has been the director of the program since its establishment in 1990. Faith Farm- Okeechobee & Boynton Beach
Faith Farm Ministries was created and founded in 1951 by Reverend Garland Eastham. In the beginning the purpose of Faith Farm ministries was simply to offer shelter, comfort, food and Biblical training to any homeless and destitute men whom would desire them. However, realizing that there was a critical need for an alcohol rehabilitation program in the community, Faith Farm initially created a three-day program to help men recover from alcohol abuse. In the years since 1951, this program has become a comprehensive eight-month program, which provides rehabilitation and treatment over the abuse of illegal and pharmaceutical drug and alcohol. There are now three different locations in Florida for the rehabilitation and treatment programs- Okeechobee, Fort Lauderdale and Boynton Beach. All programs offer the complete program treatment and rehabilitation to both men and women. The Love Center, Fort Pierce
The Love Center was created and founded in 1995 by Pastor Jerome Rhyant, whom struggled with his own substance abuse problems prior to dedicating his life to assisting others with their difficulties. The Love Center also works with the Sheriff’s Department of Prisoner Re-Entry Programs to provide a halfway/transitional house for men who have recently left jail or prison and need a place to stay temporarily. His center is also referred to by chaplains and priests whom minister in prison. The Center is supported by donations, but men also are sponsored or pay for their own treatment out of pocket.
Pastor Rhyant’s approach to substance abuse treatment for recently released prisoners rely on spiritual faith, Biblical guidance and a dose of hard work in the real world. Pastor Rhyant has established several businesses such as car washes, lawn maintenance and a car detailing and waxing service. The men work during the day and return to the Love Center in the evening for Bible and substance abuse classes, as well as everyday lessons on balancing checkbooks and leasing an apartment or house. The Next Step Center, Stuart
The Next Step Center is a transitional housing and substance abuse center utilizing Christian based principles in order to alter their lives. The Next Step Center was founded in 1996 and its Executive Director is Bob Wilson. On average about 20 men are living in one of the two buildings that the Next Step Center owns. Most of the men stay between four to seven months after re-entering society and Mr. Wilson works actively with the Martin County Sheriff’s Department to assist inmates to re-enter society successfully.
Men spend their days working outside at a job that they are able to find through the Next Step’s efforts and attend Alcoholic/Narcotics Anonymous meetings, Bible and anger management classes or other group/individual counseling for most of the weekday nights. The men are also assigned a series of chores to complete during the morning and occasionally in the evenings.
Combining a faith-based program with the Bible and Alcoholic/Narcotic Anonymous classes, men are allowed to stay for a minimum of 90 days. Rooms are shared with a minimum of two men and all rooms are also fully furnished. There is a rigorous screening procedure and men must fill out a sixteen-page document, prior to admission. As with all the faith-based organizations mentioned, certain types of criminals such as sexual predators, domestic abuse offenders and mental health disorder types are not permitted entry to the Next Step Center. Methodology: Focus Groups
Strengths of Focus Groups
Focus groups of men in groups of one hour and a total of 5-7 men were used to gather data. Focus group research has been utilized effectively for small groups of individuals (Berg, 2004). Focus groups hold potential for the researcher to find out and conduct effective interviews allowing for extensive data collection (Basch, 1987; Lengua et al., 1992; Berg, 2004). Finally, the usage of focus groups allow participants unrestricted and open access to fully answer any and all questions posed to them (Berg, 2004). Weaknesses of Focus Groups
Focus groups however also suffer from a number of issues. They can be a weak tool for gathering data if not managed properly. Focus groups participants may go off topic if the researcher is not strict enough. There is also a strong possibility that the moderator could bias the data if interruptions are too often. Researchers should also be wary of becoming over-zealous in their approach to gathering data, such as leading the group members through questions in which the researcher may have arrived at a pre-determined conclusion (Berg, 2004). Why Focus Groups Should Be Used
Due to the nature of prisoner reentry programs and because they involve large groups of individuals working and learning together focus group research is ideal. Groups of individuals whom work together over long periods of time tend to form strong social bonds among each other. These social bonds could prevent recidivism and/or re-arrest because of the simple kinship one individual feels towards another. Data Collection Process
At each of the faith-based reentry programs, after meal announcements for research and data collection were made to all the participants. Researchers asked men to stay behind after dinner and voluntarily participate in a qualitative research study. Potential applicants to the research study were asked if they would be interested in answering several questions regarding their satisfaction as a client in the reentry program they were participating in. DONE Dunklin Memorial Camp, Okeechobee
The ethnic backgrounds of the program participants were White men with one exception. The one exception was an African-American. The men’s ages ranged from mid 20’s to late 40’s.Various amount of time had been spent in the program by the men. The men had been in the program over varying periods. The shortest period spent in the program was three months and the longest was fourteen months. Two of the men interviewed were brothers and both had spent time in jail before arriving in the program. One was training to be a minister. The focus group lasted approximately 45 minutes.
For the men, family was the most important variable in their lives. Family as a variable was followed by housing then a job when asked to rank the three or four most important issues once they would leave the program. When asked if they were able to make social contacts for jobs and housing once they left the program, all the men who’d been in the program for more than six months stated affirmatively that the Reverend Mickey Evans and others in the administrative department would have something lined up for them when they left the program. Also, some of the men told me that when they were working in the fields or at the dining hall, they were able to make networking contacts through just talking with the other camp members. Dunklin also has the Big Brother-Little Brother system whereby an older member of the camp will introduce the new members of the camp to everyone and “show him the ropes” so to speak. The Big Brother-Little Brother system is unique to Dunklin; other faith-based programs investigated did not have this type of program.
The men at Dunklin expressed the idea that the program did not make them feel like a client; but rather as part of the family. “You see,” one man told me earnestly “We believed that we have our ‘little problem’ (alcohol or drug abuse) but now that we are here at Dunklin, it’s not just our little problem anymore; it’s a big problem which we all share.” Other men nodded at this statement and voiced their agreement. The idea of family seems to be most deeply rooted at Dunklin. Another man tried to build on this idea by expressing the thought that no one ate alone or did almost nothing alone (with some obvious exceptions) the entire time in the program. “We don’t like people sitting by themselves or doing things alone. Their mind tends to wander and think distracting thoughts. So we don’t allow this to happen.” The Big Brother-Little Brother part of the program is another method by which the men police themselves and make sure the newcomers don’t feel alone or without a friend to talk to during their initial few weeks in the program. Overall results appeared to show that the men were highly satisfied and positive in their outlook of the program and their future possibilities once they left the program. Results: Dunklin Memorial Camp
Number of men (N)- 6 men
Program creates a possibility for future jobs – Yes 6 No 0
Program creates a possibility for future housing – Yes 6 No 0 Program allows closeness towards family- Yes 6 No 0
Program administrators are helpful- Yes 6 No 0
Most important issue on mind when left jail/prison- Housing 1 Family 4 Job 1
Faith Farm- Okeechobee
At the Faith Farm’s Okeechobee campus, a total of ten men volunteered and were involved in the focus groups and interview questionnaire. During the focus group interviews, the men at Faith Farm-Okeechobee expressed high levels of positive outlook with their treatment program and told me they were not worried about their future. Out of several concerns the men had about leaving jail and/or leaving the program, most expressed the desire to reconnect with their families with jobs and housing being the second most important issue. Housing was a distant third because as the men explained to me, they had someone to stay with or were already married and had a home or an apartment. All expressed a positive desire for the faith-based program to reconnect stronger with their wives and children.
The program’s content was deemed very good or good, with some men expressing the desire that they should have a mentoring program of some sort. Some of the men had heard of Dunklin’s mentoring program and mentioned this during the focus group interviews. Some of the men felt that their program would be better if the men had someone to speak to and mentor when they first entered the program. For the first month, the men told me that they were not even allowed to speak to the new men in the program.
When questioned to the content of the program, the men felt that the program had overall been designed well and appeared to assist them in the reentry process. Some of the men expressed the desire to enter the Omega House, which is specifically set aside for men whom have been in the program for over six months and wish to gradually reintegrate themselves back into the community. Aside from a few men asking for more administrators’ assistance with job hunting and housing assistance, overall the men were very satisfied with their program. A client-oriented satisfaction Results: Faith Farm- Okeechobee
Number of men (N)- 10 men
Program makes you feel like a client- Yes- 8 No- 2
Approve process of program- Yes 9 No 1
Approve content of program- Yes 9 No 1
Program allows social contact (jobs, housing) – Yes 8 No 1
Program allows closeness towards family- Yes 9 No 1
Program administrators are helpful- Yes 7 No 3
Most important issue on mind when left jail/prison- Housing 3 Family 7 Job 0
Faith Farm- Boynton Beach
After being introduced to the Faith Farm’s assistant director, Aaron Brown through Reverend Mickey Evans, I arrived at the Boynton Beach campus of Faith Farm in the evening to introduce myself and collect questionnaires and conduct one focus group interview with eleven men whom had volunteered to meet with me. The Faith Farm assistant director, Aaron Brown, had already set aside a classroom space and eleven men waited for me inside when I arrived. I explained my research and what I was doing. I told them everything said to me or written down was anonymous and I would prefer that they would not use their real names when addressing each other. All the men understood the directions and dutifully filled out the questionnaires.
The men at Faith Farm expressed high levels of positive outlook with their treatment program and told me they were not worried about their future. Out of several concerns the men had about leaving jail and/or leaving the program, most expressed the desire to reconnect with their families with jobs and housing being the second most important issue. Housing was a distant third because as the men explained to me, they had someone to stay with or were already married and were going back to live with their spouses.
All expressed a positive desire that the faith based program had allowed them to reconnect stronger with their wives and children. When asked their opinions and beliefs regarding the content of the program 9 out of 11 men said that the content of the program was well thought out. When asked about the process of the program, all of the men (11 out of 11) stated that the process was good and that there were no changes they would want instituted. When asked about the administrators’ assistance with the program, there was some hesitation and only 5 out 11 men said that the program administrators had been helpful. Four men complained that the staff at Faith Farm did not treat them well and were very bossy and aggressive with them. The content of the program was rated highly by 9 out of 11 men. Results: Faith Farm- Boynton Beach
Number of men (N)- 11
Program makes you feel like a client- Yes- 4 No- 7
Approve process of program- Yes 11 No 0
Approve content of program- Yes 9 No 2
Program allows social contact (jobs, housing) – Yes 7 No 4
Program allows closeness towards family- Yes 9 No 2
Program administrators are helpful- Yes 5 No 6
Most important issue on mind when left jail/prison- Housing 0 Family 8 Job 3
The Love Center, Fort Pierce
At the Love Center, I interviewed and collected questionnaires from each of the men. I arrived at the Love Center around 8:30 am on a weekday and spent the next two hours speaking with and collecting questionnaires from the six men gathered at the Love Center. All the men had served time in jail or prison recently and lived in the apartment complex on the campus. All agreed that the program had made them feel closer to their children and especially their family. Some of the men expressed the thought that the treatment provided to them at the Love Center made them feel like family but also like a client, something which they agreed on with their colleagues at the Faith Farm campuses but not with Dunklin Memorial. One of the few negative comments made from a man in the program when asked about the process and content of the program was that there should be more care taken when admitting new people.
Another comment which I didn’t hear from anywhere else was that almost all the men (five out of six) wished that Pastor Rhyant should spend more time with them. Pastor Rhyant does not run the day to day management but he does run Bible sessions on a bi-weekly basis. Overall the mood was that the men enjoyed the process of the program and were well satisfied that the program produced desired results. All the men expressed the hope that the program would assist them in their abusive behaviors towards alcohol and drugs. Some of the men interviewed did express the thought that there might be problems living in the crime-infested neighborhood, but all the men did agree that their unique living situation produced a rare opportunity for them to overcome their personal problems. Results: The Love Center
Number of men (N)- 6
Program makes you feel like a client- Yes- 4 No- 2
Approve process of program- Yes 4 No 2
Approve content of program- Yes 4 No 2
Program allows social contact (jobs, housing) – Yes 4 No 2
Program allows closeness towards family- Yes 5 No 1
Program administrators are helpful- Yes 4 No 2
Most important issue when left jail/prison- Housing 5 Family 1 Job 0
Lamb of God, Okeechobee
Lamb of God is run by Mike Lewandowski and he is also one of the few programs that the Florida Department of Corrections (FLDOC) endorses and provides monetary support for. The FLDOC provides $25 a day for each man that Mike Lewandowski uses towards the rent and maintenance as well as some basic supplies for each man whom enters the program.
Mike Lewandowski runs his program with more leniency than other programs whom I interviewed with. He has a generous policy of allowing men whom cannot pay rent immediately to stay on indefinitely as long as they are making a conscious and good-faith effort to find work. Some of the men have resided on the premises without paying rent for several months.
One man interviewed told me he was unable to pay rent to Mike Lewandowski for almost two months before he was able to find a job. He was extremely grateful that Mr. Lewandowski was not small-minded and didn’t throw him out as long as he was looking for work everyday. He finally was able to find a job at a local trucking company and now drives trucks while taking classes in the evenings.
In total there were nine men whom were interviewed during the qualitative process. All of the men had either been in jail or prison at some point in their lives, with most of them either caught up in drunk driving or bar fights. Some of the men interviewed (5 out of 9) had children and agreed that the program they were in currently was assisting them in being able to become closer to their families. The men did voice their opinion that while the program was not very disciplined and structured, it did allow them a great deal of personal growth and responsibility.
The process, content and administration support were all rated as excellent or in high satisfactory condition by all the men present. The men did not feel like a client; rather they felt like a family with Mike Lewandowski as a father figure. Research has shown that for a substance abuse program to work, it must work through cooperation and a team effort. Almost all the men at the faith based camps whom I interviewed with agreed with me that working as a team, without the distraction of women around them, assisted them in starting new habits and breaking past ones. A number of the men I spoke explained to me that the camaraderie they enjoyed in the faith-based program was hard to find elsewhere. Results: Lamb of God
Results: Number of men (N)- 9
Program makes you feel like a client- Yes- 2 No- 7
Approve process of program- Yes 8 No 1
Approve content of program- Yes 7 No 2
Program allows social contact (jobs, housing) – Yes 8 No 1
Program allows closeness towards family- Yes 7 No 2
Program administrators are helpful- Yes 9 No 0
Most important issue on mind when left jail/prison- Housing 2 Family 6 Job 1
Descriptive Statistics on Reentry Program Participants
Faith (N= 42) %
(26-32) 28 %
Education- High School
(3-6 months) 34
Heard of Program
(word of mouth) 58.5
Currently in probation
Currently on parole
Probation in past
Parole in past
Staying for entire treatment
Program improved relationship with children
Most common occupation prior to program
Length of time to gain employment after program
(1-3 ms) 86
Program assists in gaining employment
Returning to prior profession
Starting new profession
Education assistance- G.E.D.
Education assistance- college credits
1st time in program
Participated more than once in program
If choice, wish to stay in program- respondents answering “Yes” 84.6 Resource increase-more assistance with job hunting
Resource increase-more funding provided to administration
Resource increase-more assistance with housing
Decrease amount of time spent in program
Treated as clients during course of program
Satisfaction with Program Administrators’ assistance
Satisfaction with Process of Program
Satisfaction with Content of Program
In total, five programs and 42 men were interviewed for a period lasting 45-60 minutes at a time. All the men interviewed were never pressured nor cajoled for any answers and any questions they did not wish to answer were dismissed. During the course of their interviews they had been asked what one issue stood out in their minds when they left prison or jail. While a majority of men chose Family and Housing as their two primary concerns upon their return to society, a number of men also spoke about the need to stay away from old neighborhoods and past friends who had tempted them and lead them astray.
In the non-profit programs the men often spoke of starting a new life for themselves through Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings and some of the men told me that an entire lifestyle change was warranted if they were ever to stop recycling through the criminal justice system. Research has confirmed this widely held opinion among the men interviewed: a complete lifestyle change is necessary for an ex inmate in order to prevent re-incarceration (Travis, 2005). Future Research Questions
Future recommendations for research would be inaccurate and incomplete without suggesting that the family and children should be studied more not just as separate variables but as models for the prevention of recidivism. Had there been resources and time permitting this dissertation would have taken into account and conducted research on the families and children of returning inmates. Several of the men who I met at the faith-based programs were eager to talk about the marriage and family counseling services available and how these services had positively affected the relationship in their families.
A further research study should incorporate these variables and analyze the effectives of reuniting families and children with returning inmates as well as the success of reintegrating them back into society. In the future, the research questions would need to be expanded upon and made clearer in both their intent and clarity of objective. Changing cities/counties and even comparing the results with a different state, perhaps in the Northeast or Midwest might be a clever idea to expand upon.