Operation New Hope expands to Clay County to give inmates job skills before release

Published on October 13, 2023 at 11:07 am

Operation New Hope’s Ready4Release Career Development Reentry Training program is coming to the Clay County Jail as of Oct. 30th. The Jacksonville-based nonprofit’s reentry professionals will also provide case management to those serving jail time in Clay County.

With an average of 470 inmates daily at the county jail in Green Cove Springs, Sheriff Michelle Cook calls the program “a clear path forward” for incarcerated men and women to reintegrate into society upon their release.

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“By partnering with Operation New Hope, we hope to bring life-changing opportunities to incarcerated individuals. Those who do the crime must do the time. But while they are in our custody, we must do our part to ensure that they become productive citizens once released,” Cook said in a news release Friday.

Supplying skills and training in advance of release also helps the community as well as the inmate, said Operation New Hope President and CEO Reggie Fullwood.

“We know that without results-driven reentry programs that provide the skills needed to be successful at work after release, communities experience higher rates of crime, homelessness, unemployment, family instability and recidivism,” Fullwood said.

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Operation New Hope’s 24-year-old program offers reentry services at more than 30 facilities across Florida, with the Ready4Work program already operating in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Orlando, and Cocoa. The nonprofit says it has helped more than 10,000 people and is also opening a new program location next year in Tampa.

Clay County’s program is funded by the Sheriff’s Office’s Inmate Welfare Fund, intended to improve work-readiness and reduce recidivism, Cook said. 

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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