New Life Church, Florida
“Now when we got into understanding the partnership between New Life church, and GEO, the largest organization involved in prison reentry, meaning housing and food services, and all kinds of needs, that they help to supply those who are coming out… I partnered with them (GEO) because I find that they have a clear and, honest motive.”Bishop Derrick Hutchins, New Life Church
In Orlando, Florida, New Life Church is a place of hope, healing, and devotion to God and the community. Their mission is clear: to be of service to others, especially those incarcerated.
New Life Church and GEO formed a partnership with a mission to lowering the recidivism rate in Florida. Through community engagement and collaboration, we continue to work together and assisting returning citizens throughout their reentry process. “We’re trying to make sure that we offer them (returning citizens) services that will help them to become productive, so they won’t have to return to incarceration, and won’t resort to old habits,” Bishop Hutchins explained. GEO remains steadfast to helping returning citizens and are fortunate to be partners with community leaders like New Life Church.
You can learn more about the partnership and New Life Church’s ministry here:
New Horizons Dog Service, Florida
“We’re very fortunate to be partners with GEO at the Moore Haven Correctional Facility… The staff at Moore Haven really believe in our program. They believe in the dogs, they believe in what it does for us, as dogs, and what it does for the inmates. So, they are very open and receptive to any ideas.”Mike DeStefano, Operations Director at New Horizons Service Dogs
Since 1995, New Horizons Service Dogs, a nonprofit organization, maintains its mission to training dogs in order to help serve and assist adults and children in wheelchairs or have other mobility problems. Their unique partnership with the GEO Group offers inmates the opportunity to become dog trainers.
New Horizons’ program helps prisoners, dogs, and the families. They facilitate their program at four prisons in Florida including GEO’s Moore Haven Correctional Facility, as well as the Sago Palm Re-Entry Center, the Dade Correctional Center, and the Homestead Correctional Center. Prisoners are assigned to a dog and work with that dog for several months. Trainers are on-site and assist both the prisoner and the dog in honing their skills. Once training is completed, the dogs are assigned to a family.
The dedication and commitment to helping others whether its prisoners, dogs, or the families does make an impact. Mike Destefano, an operations director at New Horizons, admires the work and collaboration that is taking place. “As a facilitator to this, you know the families that are giving of their time and energy, the inmates that are giving their love and training, you know, those are the real heroes to all of this.”
Returning citizens are playing an important part with New Horizons as well. Tim Taylor, a returning citizen, had the opportunity to train dogs during his time in prison and, now, works with New Horizons. That dog-training program changed his outlook on life. He explained, “When you’re in there with a dog and you have to take care of another being, and you get to train this, and make it something different, and it takes your mind away from being in there, and it teaches you a skill.”
Following his release, Tim works remained at New Horizons. He exclaimed, “Best job I’ve ever had anywhere! I don’t know who gets more out of what, what I’m doing, the dogs that I train, or me. And when I see how these dogs are placed and the people I get to help, and all that, there’s no way to describe any of that.”
Partnering with New Horizons Service Dogs reinforces and strengthens the GEO Group’s commitment to providing enhanced in-custody rehabilitation programming. Together, we are changing behavior and improving lives. You can learn more about the partnership here:
Hope for Prisoners, Nevada
“Everyone deserves a second chance and when second chance employers when CEOs and businesses understand the tremendous value the tremendous assets that people know the segment of the population and become and they are not a liability that I think that they’re going to be adding to your bottom line.”Jon Ponders, Founder of Hope for Prisoners at Liberty University’s CEO Summit
Jon Ponder, a former prisoner had a vision of building an organization with the sole purpose of helping others facing his same challenges. That day the idea for Hope for Prisoners (HFP) was born.
Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, HFP provides comprehensive reentry services to men, women and young adults who are returning to the community after incarceration with a focus on mental, physical and spiritual growth and development. In addition, Hope for Prisoners offers a variety of training programs for its clients to build and strengthen skills necessary for employment readiness, leadership development and success throughout the reintegration process. Since 2010, HFP has helped over 4,000 individuals.
The partnership between GEO and Hope for Prisoners is important to helping those who are returning to society and to their homes. Jon explains, “The beauty about what GEO does is in the partnership with Hope for Prisoners is that it does not stop at the gate, there’s a continuum of care to be there with the men and women to not only help them to walk out all those incredible things that they learn, but to be there with them to help them to navigate the different challenges that they’re going to be facing during that reintegration process.”
You can learn more about the GEO-Hope for Prisoners partnership here:
RE-ENTRY One Inc., Florida
When Giovanni was sentenced to prison, he knew that he had to make a change. Through strength and fortitude, Giovanni has not only made a change within himself but also helped inspire others to do the same. Now he is helping returning citizens in their transition back to society by providing post-release services and mentoring services. In 2020, he founded Re-Entry One Inc.
As the Founder of Re-Entry One, Giovanni primarily works with post-release case managers and returning in providing services. Services included clothes, food, hygiene products, healthcare, electronics, has expanded to include other services so that they can get the assistance they require.
In a recent conversation with Giovanni, we asked him what keeps him motivated. He said,“It’s just a fulfillment from seeing those wide smiles on their faces… Because of what we do, we are inspiring so many people and now we have the family members are becoming part of our volunteer base… Those awesome deeds are just what keeps me going. There is nothing greater than that.”
We are proud to have an incredible partnership with Re-Entry One and Giovanni in serving returning citizens in Florida. You can Check out his page to learn more about Giovanni’s story as well as the incredible work that Re-Entry One does for returning citizens.
Phoenix Rescue Mission, Arizona
“Our goal is the same as the group at GEO. It is we want to remove barriers for the people we are serving and help connect them to the right resources.”Pamela Morrison, Community Relationship Officer Phoenix Rescue Mission
The Phoenix Rescue Mission is a place of hope, healing, and new beginnings for men, women, and children who are struggling with homelessness, addiction, and trauma. Since 1952, their goal to help connect people to the resources and services they need remains unchanged. That commitment and dedication is why we partner with them in helping returning citizens in Arizona .
Learn more about GEO’s partnership with Phoenix Rescue Mission here:
Reentry Success DC
Reentry Success DC started in 2018 as a collaboration between the GEO Group and the National Federation of Federal Employees (an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers). The program enhances the GEO Group’s pre- and post-release services by connecting returning citizens to gainful employment. Reentry Success DC is available to every Continuum of Care participant that completed a sentence at the Rivers Correctional Facility in North Carolina and is returning to Washington DC.
Through this project, we have had the opportunity to work with nonprofits as well as the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE). The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) is a national union representing approximately 110,000 blue and white collar government workers across the United States. Ratifying its constitution on September 17, 1917, NFFE was the first union to represent federal employees.
Learn more about Reentry Success DC here: