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Lake City Correctional Facility is Mission and Community Focused

CoreCivic | 6/8/23 12:00 PM

CoreCivic's Lake City Correctional Facility in Lake City, Florida, is one-of-a-kind. It’s where 225 employees, including back-to-back companywide Employees of the Year (Sonical Mitchell in 2021 and Aaronia Harps in 2022), believe in the potential of a brighter future for the young, male residents at Lake City.

It’s a place where rehabilitation takes center stage. Within the Florida Department of Corrections system, Lake City is a leading provider of program offerings. These programs include residential drug treatment, moral reconation therapy, behavior management, anger management, victim impact programming, parenting and fatherhood programs, GED and HiSet education, and technical job training such as CDL, culinary arts, HVAC, and environmental services.

“With so many of our residents being first-time offenders, we really focus on setting them up for a successful reentry once their time has been served,” explained James Deal, warden at Lake City. “We emphasize education and job skills. We had 125 students earn GEDs last year—the highest in our region—and our highly successful HVAC technical training program helped a recently-released resident get hired making $60,000 a year.”

Staff at Lake City report that the residents sometimes experience challenges acclimating to a secure environment since it’s the first time many of them have been incarcerated.

“They’re mostly still figuring out who they are and who they want to be. We have the opportunity to give them the skills they need to be successful to reenter society and turn their lives around,” said Deal.

None of this would be possible without the commitment and teamwork of the staff at Lake City. The employees share that facility personnel is like a family, and together, they like to support one another and the community in which they live and work.

Some of the facility’s favorite community support activities include preparing baskets with supplies like laundry detergent and household goods to send with recent high school graduates who are headed off to college and filling book bags with school supplies at the start of the school year for local elementary schools. Employees also collect and donate Christmas gifts each year for children involved in the Guardian Ad Litem program throughout the state.

Additionally, Lake City builds relationships and frequently partners with community law enforcement for events such as the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics and National Night Out.

“Lake City Correctional Facility is a special place. We have hard-working people here; they go above and beyond the call of duty," said Deal. "They see the potential in the lives of the young men who are here. After their time with us, our hope is that residents return home with an education, job training, and the tools they need to never become incarcerated again.”

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Topics: Reducing Recidivism, Community Support