Audit Gives GEO Group 100 percent

Hard work and accurate records in all departments really paid off! At their quarterly meeting to secure community input from invited local guests, GEO Group’s warden, Craig Hanks, announced that he had received the results of their recent audit, and was pleased to announce that it was 100 percent.

Following a delicious luncheon, Warden Hanks introduced Eric Martin, Substance Abuse Program Manager, at the local correctional institution. This is an intensive program that screens each applicant to determine if the inmate meets the criteria of Florida Department of Corrections’ abuse programs.

The inmate is told that substance abuse is a serious problem that affects many people in many ways, and could be the reason you continue to commit crimes. It can affect a person’s behavior, attitude, self-image, their family, career, and what one does on his free time. FDC substance programs’ goal is to assist the inmate in working on all these problems. The program shows the inmate a positive, drug free way to live, and will greatly increase his chance of living a crime free life, and out of further institutions.

If the inmate is accepted into the program, participating in the services offered is mandatory.

Enrollment in the intensive outpatient is strictly voluntary, and acceptance is based on several things:
severity of dependence, history of criminal behavior, recommendation of the sentencing authority, such as a drug court or drug division.

Mr. Martin explained that the outpatient program is intensive, in that it requires six months of participation; 5 days a week for a minimum of 10 hours per week. Each plan is individualized according to the applicant’s needs. Since all participants share the problem of substance abuse, IOP programs deal with real issues and problems.

He also explained that it is the goal of the IOP program, upon completion, to address problems of substance abuse, and how to stay clean from drugs and alcohol; continuing participation in drug and alcohol education programs and developing leadership skills by helping new members, not only in the IOP program, but also in other groups and community programs.

Mr. Martin also addressed the problem of “Alcoholism – it’s progression and recovery.” He showed how one’s occasional “relief drinking” can lead to moral deterioration, drinking with inferiors and finally, an obsession with drinking. This usually leads to a vicious cycle, ending in incarceration, insanity and death.

He emphasized that only when the person admits an honest desire for help, can total addiction to alcohol be arrested. If this happens, gradually the inmate’s self esteem returns, he is accepted by his family and friends, and a a whole new way of life that he never thought possible, opens up for him.

While it is difficult to think incarceration is a blessing, if returning to a drug and alcohol free life, as a new way of life, it just might be.

Following the meeting, this writer met Yvonne Turner, the barber instructor for GEO Group. She noted that when an inmate successfully completes the barber course offered, he is licensed as a barber, a perk that can sometimes take months at a barber school, and can be immediately employed, A GED can also be obtained. One more reason to take advantage of services offered by this “city within a city.”

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