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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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Today on Context Florida: Greg Evers, loving Hispanics, demagogues and the ‘real America’

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Today on Context Florida: Peter Schorsch asks: How many times can Department of Corrections officials tick off Greg Evers before they’re really in for it? Last week at a news conference, Evers dropped the bomb that Corrections Secretary Julie Jones and one of her top aides had “lied” to him about the closing of a Broward County prisoner re-entry program. (Evers didn’t name Jones, but a department spokesman confirmed that’s who he had spoken with.) The question now is: When does…

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Broward delegation protests closure of Bridges of America program

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Almost all of Broward County’s legislative delegation is telling Gov. Rick Scott: Keep the Bridge open. In a new letter, 17 of the county’s members in the House and Senate — 16 of them Democrats — are the latest lawmakers to protest the Department of Corrections’ planned shutdown of a prisoner re-entry program. “The impact of this decision … affects several layers of our communities, from the work release inmates, to the Bridges employees at the facility, to the families of the…

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Inmates now suing over state shutdown of prisoner re-entry program

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At least three inmates have filed suit in Tallahassee over the Department of Corrections‘ shutdown of a south Florida prisoner re-entry program. Michael Brammer, John McDougle and Douglas Rahn sued in Leon County Circuit Court late Monday, records show. They seek a court order preventing the state from closing Broward Bridge, a residential program offering transitional counseling, drug treatment and other services to inmates on work release. Bridges of America, the Orlando-based nonprofit that runs the program, has been waging a PR…

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Greg Evers says prisons agency “lied” to him

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A state senator says the Department of Corrections “lied” to him about the closure of a prisoner re-entry program. But a department spokesman says he may have misunderstood the conversation. Greg Evers, the Baker Republican who heads his chamber’s Criminal Justice Committee, spoke at a Tallahassee news conference on Monday. Evers told reporters he wanted to insert special language into the 2016-17 state budget — but was talked out of it. He said he wanted to ensure the Department of Corrections could not…

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Darren Soto “troubled” by Broward program shutdown

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State Sen. Darren Soto is adding his name to the growing list of state lawmakers objecting to the closing of a prisoner re-entry program in Broward County. Soto, an Orlando Democrat, wrote Friday to Corrections Secretary Julie Jones to say he was “troubled by this decision” because he is a “strong proponent of these types of facilities and programs.” “I believe that our best chance to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety is to properly rehabilitate and prepare inmates for when they are released…

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Dana Young dubious about prisoner program shutdown

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A top House Republican now is questioning the shutdown of a South Florida prisoner re-entry program. Dana Young, the leader of the Florida House of Representatives’ controlling Republican caucus, wrote a letter to Corrections Secretary Julie Jones on Wednesday. The letter, released to reporters on Thursday, comes on the tails of the department’s decision to discontinue a Broward County partnership with the Orlando-based Bridges of America nonprofit. The organization provided “transitional counseling” and drug treatment in Lauderdale Lakes to prisoners on work release who needed help…

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