FORT LAUDERDALE — A new program called “The Revival Project” aims to use motivational and educational videos to help inmates from coming back after they’re released.
The program consists of 22 videos the inmates can volunteer to watch, according to the Sun Sentinel. Topics include how to set personal goals, the role of faith and families in a person’s life away from jail, and how to network for jobs once released.
The announcement comes weeks after a draft report written by a court-appointed jail consultant indicated that the county has too many inmates who stay behind bars for too long while taxpayers pick up a $118-per-inmate daily tab in the 5,144-inmate system.
“The basic slogan behind the project is ‘Don’t leave without a plan,’ and that’s good advice,” Broward County Jail Sheriff Al Lamberti told the Sun Sentinel. The program was spear-headed by Broward County Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren.
"There are people who commit serious crimes and they need to be punished and stay incarcerated for long periods of time," the judge said. "There are also people with drug problems, mental illness and serious deficits in education and literacy who are eager to do better but simply don't have the skills to succeed."
Lamberti also said that the project would not cost the county any money.
Broward Public Defender Howard Finklestein said he applauds the effort, but that he’s also not heard very much about the project.
“If you can do education and benefit people, I am all for it,” he said. “But if this results in them spending one extra day in jail, you can bet I am going to complain. These videos are targeting lower intellectual reasoning, lower financial resources people. While they may need the lessons, they shouldn’t be in jail because they are poor and lack these lessons.”
The primary target audiences are inmates who have problems reading and those accused of nonviolent crimes, according to the Sentinel. Jail officials say they plan to implement the program within the next few weeks.