Commissioner Levine Cava holds County Work Day with Miami-Dade Department of Corrections, highlights Ban the Box legislation
As the Miami-Dade Commission prepared to vote on the “Ban the Box” legislation, Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava held a County Work Day with the Department of Corrections. County Work Days showcase the good work of Miami-Dade departments and inform the public about vital county services supported with our tax dollars.
The Commissioner visited the Training and Treatment Center, a medium security county facility that houses over 300 inmates. Corrections Director Marydell Guevara explained to the Commissioner that the facility has suffered budget cuts while in the middle of upgrades. In an effort to rehabilitate inmates in the wake of fewer resources, the Training and Treatment Center has partnered with different organizations and county departments. An example is their dog training program, in which inmates work with the Animal Services Department to train dogs and get them adoption ready. The nonprofit organization Applause Your Paws also works with the center. The program has been so successful that some inmates have been hired by Applause Your Paws upon being released.
Commissioner Levine Cava explained: “The Training and Treatment Center is a perfect example of the amazing job that many departments are doing with limited resources and, in this case, dilapidated facilities. Though the center stopped renovations due to budget cuts, the staff has figured out creative ways to continue serving Miami-Dade. The dog training program helps inmates work through trauma and learn skills that will help them re-integrate into society.”
The Commissioner later visited the nationally accredited Miami-Dade County Boot Camp. With a recidivism rate of just 8.9%, the county program has proven to be incredibly effective. The boot camp currently has 57 cadets enrolled between the ages of 14-25. The 16 month program has three phases: a drill program, educational training and a work program. The educational program includes a 150 hour environmental certification, as well as other vocational training like welding apprenticeships. Cadets work with diverse organizations in order to learn an array of skills, including Adopt-A-Tree, Salvation Army and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
“Many boot camps around the country have closed, but the Miami-Dade Boot Camp continues to thrive due to the exceptional work of the officers involved with the program. I had an opportunity to speak with the cadets and I was very encouraged by their discipline and work ethic. The Ban the Box legislation I co-prime sponsored with several of my colleagues seeks to give residents like these cadets a chance at becoming a community asset instead of becoming stuck in the revolving door of the justice system. Programs like this one help give individuals the skills they need to qualify for employment and help our community close the inequality gap, which benefits our entire county.”
The County Work Day ended at the Miami-Dade Public Safety Training Institute. Miami-Dade Police Department Deputy Director Juan Perez showed the 35 acre facility which includes sections for professional development, basic training, entrepreneurial programs, international training and a host of other facilities. Commissioner Levine Cava has previously visited the other facilities of the Department of Corrections. “I have been inspired by the dedication and professionalism of the men and women in Corrections. We need more funding, new buildings, more programs and a justice system that emphasizes prevention and treatment and that processes these cases quickly so the residents are not left in limbo. Thank you to the Department for helping to move us in the right direction.”
For more information on County Work Days, corrections services or the Ban the Box legislation, please contact Commissioner Levine Cava’s office at 305-375-5218/305-378-6677.
The Training and Treatment Center. Upgrades have been halted due to budget cuts.
Inmates learn a variety of skills, including dog trainig.
Lt. Rose Green shows the Commissioner the Training and Treatment Center Facilities
Commissioner Levine Cava addresses cadets at Miami-Dade Boot Camp
MDPD Deputy Director Juan Perez demonstrates how live rounds are used in police training