According to the U.S. Department of Justice, over 10,000 ex-offenders are released from U.S. prisons every week and studies show that approximately two-thirds of ex-offenders will likely be rearrested within three years of release. This places major challenges on the communities where ex-offenders return, including increased poverty and low employment.

Ex-offenders who can’t find gainful employment immediately following incarceration are 500 times more likely to return to criminal acts. However, studies have shown that ex-offenders who are hired within 6 months of release have a less than 50% chance of off committing another crime compared to those who are unemployed.

Adequate job opportunities and training for ex-offenders along with employers’ hesitancy to knowingly hire ex-offenders are major employment barriers for people with background issues. The federal government spends 100’s of millions of dollars annually on re-entry programs, but much of the responsibility falls to local governments for implementation.

The City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office has dedicated programs to reduce repeat offender criminal activity. JADE (Jacksonville Area Discharge Enhancement) and JREC (Jacksonville Re-Entry Center) are two of the city’s programs that work collaboratively with other community partners and offender service providers to improve the quality of life for inmates and ex-offenders.

JADE and JREC Services

  • Assistance with transitional housing
  • Health care
  • Transportation
  • Pre-employment training
  • Case-management
  • Identification
  • Food stamps application
  • Filing for social security benefits
  • New clothing
  • Tattoo removal

In addition to JADE and JREC, there are an abundance of resources that can help ex-offenders and those with background issues. Jacksonville non-profits and other community organizations that offer employment and support services for ex-offenders include:

  1. Jacksonville Area Legal Aid
  2. Operation New Hope
  3. CareerSource of Northeast Florida
  4. Florida Community Prevention Center
  5. Florida Dept of Juvenile Justice – Northeast Region
  6. Florida Institutional Legal Services, Inc.
  7. FreeRein: Florida Reentry Resources & Information
  8. Hope Connection – Support Group for Inmates’ Families
  9. MPOWR
  10. National Hire Network
  11. SHISA House – East
  12. Stepping Stone Center
  13. Teen Challenge – Jacksonville
  14. The House of Refuge Ministries
  15. National Reentry Resource Center
  16. The Xamire Network – Florida

Share these resources with others and if you are still having trouble helping a loved one or someone you know get back on their feet, we at the Law Office of Kevin M. Cobbin are here to help you.