File Name: RE-ENTRY EFFORTS FOR VETERAN INMATES IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY
Agenda Item Number:
PRESENTATION BY MIAMI-DADE CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION DEPARTMENT REGARDING RE-ENTRY EFFORTS FOR VETERAN IDENTIFIED INMATES IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY
Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Prime Sponsor
Public Safety & Healthcare Admin Cmte
Mr. Timothy Ryan, Director, Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation Department (CRD), introduced Chief Don Coffey to present an update on the department’s efforts to identify veteran inmates.
Chief Don Coffey, CRD, noted a re-entry effort was implemented several years ago and acknowledged Mr. Joel Bodner (phonetic) participated in this effort.
Chief Coffey noted a process to identify veterans was implemented approximately one year ago using methods that included providing the information on the arrest form and identifying through the Inmate Classification Unit, staff, and volunteers. He stated that most arrested veterans were unwilling to disclose their veteran status and noted staff had been trained on how to detect identifying traits.
Chief Coffey explained a partnership between the department and the local Veteran’s Administration (VA) enabled an assessment/evaluation to be conducted on an identified veteran by a VA liaison to facilitate that individual’s need for services upon their release. He stressed the importance of continuing this type of service for veterans and noted approximately 61 veterans had been identified over the past year.
Chairman Diaz spoke about the importance of helping veterans who served this Country and expressed his support in the effort to identify the needs and provide assistance to those individuals.
Commissioner Heyman stressed the importance of asking all inmates at the time they were booked whether they had served in the military and asked the Corrections department to include a question related to military service in the booking/intake documentation process. She noted identifying veterans had financial incentives since assistance for providing Medicaid to the veteran could be acquired.
Upon inquiry by Commissioner Souto regarding whether or not the VA provided the County with information on veterans who were ill or needed special assistance, Chairman Diaz noted he planned to discuss that matter with the Veteran’s Committee.
Commissioner Souto commented on the benefit of having a pet as a companion, particularly for veterans who lived alone. He asked the County Administration to look into the possibility of developing a partnership between the County and animal shelters and/or animal rescue groups to implement a pet adoption program for veterans.
Commissioner Jordan commended the CRD and stressed the importance of proper coordination between various departments that dealt with veterans.
Chairman Diaz asked Clerk Harvey Ruvin to meet with State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle regarding the implementation of the Veteran’s Court project. He also stressed the need for sensitivity training with local law enforcement.
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