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Bridges of America

Judge finds for Corrections in drug-treatment vendor dispute

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An administrative law judge is recommending dismissing a challenge to the Department of Corrections seeking outside substance-abuse treatment and other transitioning-back-into-society services in Orange County. Bridges of America, the Orlando-based nonprofit that runs the program, has for months been waging a legal and PR battle to keep its facility open, and another in Broward County. The Broward battle ended in a settlement.  Corrections has been letting its agreements with vendors expire as part of a larger plan to reduce services…

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Non-profits rebut Corrections’ accusations on re-entry programs

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An Orlando-based nonprofit says the state’s Department of Corrections is wrongly trying to discredit a POLITICO Florida report showing that it “misled” the public about shutting down community based re-entry centers. Bridges of America, one of several outside organizations helping ex-cons and others, also said DOC “continues to fail to address that they don’t have the authority to bypass the same lawmakers they are now trying to mislead, again.” The organization issued a press release with the following points, including…

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DOC used faulty cost analysis, misstatements in plan to cut nonprofit prisoner drug treatment facilities

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In making its case to end third-party nonprofit drug abuse treatment and counseling for soon-to-be-released prisoners, the Florida Department of Corrections relied on false cost analysis and misleading statements. Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida reports on newly released documents showing plans to cut nearly 700 so-called “transition” beds for prisoners in community-based facilities leading up to their release. The move sparked an uproar from nonprofit transition centers with DOC contracts to offer those services. “These sweeping policy changes that haven’t been…

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‘No evidence’ GEO Group behind prisoner rehab grab

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The head of a nonprofit that runs prisoner re-entry programs in the state said she had “no evidence” her group and others were being muscled out by private prison operator The GEO Group. But, Lori Costantino-Brown quickly added, there’s been a “lot of speculation” that the company has somehow been involved. Costantino-Brown, president and CEO of Orlando-based Bridges of America, held a press conference Thursday in Tallahassee with other care providers. The Department of Corrections has been targeting Bridges in particular as…

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One reason to support Bridges of America in its latest dust-up with the Department of Corrections

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Bridges of America and the Department of Corrections are at it again. As Florida Politics’ Jim Rosica reported Monday, Bridges and the DOC are once more warring over transitional programs for the state’s inmates. This isn’t the first time Lori Costantino-Brown, president and chief executive officer of Bridges of America, and Corrections Secretary Julie Jones had a high-profile scuffle. A similar battle broke out earlier this year over Broward Bridge, a residential program offering transitional counseling, drug treatment, and other services to inmates on work…

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State, local officials join ex-prisoners to protest proposed closing Bridges of America center

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A group of state and local elected officials, as well as reformed ex-prisoners who know firsthand what the Bridges of America Orlando Transition Center can do, appeared Monday morning to protest the possible closing of the center by the Florida Department of Corrections. The center is being considered for closure due to what Bridges of America presumed was budgetary constraints. But years of results have shown the center to cost taxpayers less money and reduce recidivism, it asserted at Monday’s news conference.…

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Department of Corrections settles case over Bridges of America program shutdown

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The battle over Broward Bridge is over. The state’s Department of Corrections and Bridges of America announced a settlement Wednesday afternoon. The state had been planning to pull the plug on Broward Bridge, a residential program offering transitional counseling, drug treatment and other services to inmates on work release. Bridges, the Orlando-based nonprofit that runs the program, had been waging a PR battle to keep the facility open. About 89 percent of men who start the Broward program successfully complete it, according to Bridges. Overall, only 10…

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