Local Programs Help Keep Recidivism Rate Down in Bay County

Florida taxpayers are saving close to 44 million dollars a year, because fewer inmates are going back to prison.
The Department of Corrections announced the recidivism rate has dropped 4.9% statewide.
Part of that success is due to locally-based programs.
Ben Bankhead has been in and out of jail his whole life.
This time he is hoping he can break that trend with the help of a program called Lifeline.
"I'm so grateful to be in the lifeline program,” said Bankhead. “It's giving me tools I can take into the outside world to stay clean and sober."
Lifeline is one of three main programs the Bay County Jail offers to inmates to keep them from re-offending, and winding-up back in jail.
"All those programs are geared towards people going back into the community and hopefully having a successful chance at reentry," said Warden Rick Anglin.
Treatment Manager Mattie Gainer works closely with the inmates enrolled in the program.
"The ones who complete the program, the recidivism rate is about 47%, which is not bad," she said.
Education also plays a big role in giving the inmates a better chance at success on the outside.
"75% of our population here comes in and if they can achieve their GED they will not come back,” said Bruce Griffin, the re-entry coordinator. “If we graduate 10 people, 7 of those will stay out."
It costs about $46 a day to house an inmate in the Bay County Jail, but these programs are funded through inmates’ fees for things like phone calls and candy bars they buy at the jail.
"The program works. If it didn't hurt it wouldn't be working," Bankhead said.