Bridges of America to hold news conference


Bridges of America “and allies” are planning a press conference in Tallahassee on Monday morning.

The Orlando-based nonprofit is continuing to call attention to the state’s shutdown of its Broward County prisoner re-entry program.

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers has written letters of concern to Corrections Secretary Julie Jones. They’re asking her to reconsider the decision.

The organization has provided transitional counseling and drug treatment in Lauderdale Lakes to prisoners on work release who needed help returning to society.

The department announced it was letting the Broward contract with Bridges of America end on the May 16 end date. It’s not renewing it. The department said it needed the program’s space for more DOC employee offices.

On the record opposing the shutdown so far are:

  • State Sen. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat
  • House Republican Leader Dana Young of Tampa
  • State Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican
  • State Rep. Rene “Coach P” Plasencia, an Orlando Republican
  • State Rep. Randolph Bracy, an Orlando Democrat
  • State Rep. Vic Torres, an Orlando Democrat

Jones has said current enrollees would not be “negatively affect(ed).”

She said “opportunities will be made available for these individuals to continue in their journey to rehabilitation and successful transition into Florida’s communities.” Jones did not offer details.

The press conference is set for 10:30 a.m. at the Florida Press Center in downtown Tallahassee.

Staff Reports


  • Martin Singer

    May 2, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    At a time of unprecedented explosion of prescription and Heroin abuse with the incarceration of of hundreds of Floridians to close an effective and successful inmate work release center to create DOC office space makes no sense!

  • Gary

    May 2, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Media Advisory: May 2, 2016
    PR Contact: Kevin Cate, 813.469.7189
    Press Conference on FDOC Re-Entry Shut Downs:
    Rally to Save Women’s Inmate Re-Entry Facility in Bradenton
    Bradenton, FL— Former inmates, family members, Rep. Darryl Rouson, County Commissioner Robin Sue DiSabatino, Bridges for America, and allies will hold a press conference to try to save the Bradenton Bridge, an all-female inmate transitional facility founded in 2005.
    When: TOMORROW, May 3, 2016 at 10:30AM
    Where: Bradenton Bridge, 2104 63rd Avenue, Bradenton, Florida 34203

  • Ilya Torres

    May 3, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I have been a resident of the State of Florida for over twenty years and like most, I believe I have a stake in the future of this state and in the social policies that affect it. I strongly oppose the plans of the Department of Corrections to close down the transitional and substance abuse program of Bridges of America in Broward County. This program has housed hundreds of inmates from all walks of life who are getting ready to transition from a confined environment to reabsorption into the community. This is crucial to their rehabilitation and consequently to the security of those living in the communities to which they will return.

    The Broward County Bridges of America program has been without any doubt a success in every sense of the word. It has helped many young men to successfully reintegrate into their communities and has provided them with the tools they need to blossom as responsible and productive members of society. This helps them and also creates a secure environment for our children and families. In fact, it does this at a fraction of the cost of keeping them in a prison up to the time of release and with the added benefit of helping them to reintegrate. No matter how you see it, this program constitutes a win-win proposition for all parties concerned: the residents of Florida who will be safer as a result, the government of Florida who will save millions of dollars, and the the inmates in the program, who will be able to acquire the social skills and training they need to change their lives.

    Ms. Jones, the Corrections Secretary, plans to sacrifice this successful program in order to make up for lack of planning. The Department of Correction which she presides seems to need space to relocate some of its probation officers. Instead of being proactive, creative and thinking out of the box, she has chosen the easy and,unfortunately, less beneficial way out, without first exhausting all available options. If there is anything readily available in Florida is rental space. Destroying a successful, cost saving program is not, and should not be the solution. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, Don’t fix it.”

    Ms. Jones could explore the possibility of allowing the program to remain and housing the probation officers in question in the same facilities. This would save money and will keep us all safe. If she is unable to find a solution to this simple problem, perhaps the job is too big for her. Governor Scott might be better off looking for someone who is consistent with his policies of cutting unnecessary costs, instead of increasing them, and of keeping our streets safe. It isn’t too much to ask.

    It’s time to Build Bridges, not destroy them.

    Ilya Torres

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn