The United States accounts for five percent of the world’s population, but houses 25 percent of the world’s prison population. It costs taxpayers $18,000 per year to house one adult in the Florida Department of Corrections, $48,910 per year in the Palm Beach County jail, and $81,395 per year to house one youth in the Department of Juvenile Justice facilities.
Nationally, about 98 percent of people who are sentenced to prison or jail will return to the community. About two-thirds of these individuals are re-arrested within three years. In Palm Beach County, about 1,200 people are released from prison annually. People with a criminal history are faced with various obstacles in order to successfully reintegrate back into society, such as finding employment, housing, substance use treatment, and mental health treatment.
The purpose of the reentry system is to provide various services to returning residents (adults and youth) who are transitioning back to the community after a period incarceration, in order to reduce recidivism, decrease the number of crime victims, and increase public safety.
Palm Beach County’s reentry system is evidence-based and funded by the local, state, and federal levels. The Department of Public Safety-Division of Justice Services manages the reentry system, in collaboration with the Reentry Task Force
and Advisory Members. This task force includes criminal justice stakeholders from across the system, such as representatives from the state attorney’s office, public defender’s office, sheriff’s office, judges, behavioral health experts, people with lived experiences, and victim advocates. Currently, Palm Beach County sub-contracts with Gulfstream Goodwill Industries, The Lord’s Place, and The City of Riviera Beach Reentry Center to provide case management and client support services to hundreds of reentry participants.