MTC Community Release Centers: Re-Entry with a Purpose
In January 2022, MTC began operating the Miami North Community Release Center. In February, we began operating the Panama City Community Release Center. Both of these facilities, while wholly independent of one another, have a similar mission: To help residents prepare for their imminent release from prison.
Dean Lewis is the Miami North facility director. “The mission is to integrate re-entry,” she says, “get them back into society, back with family, to be productive citizens, and that we reduce recidivism.”
Men who qualify are transferred to these CRCs as they near the end of their sentence. Technically, they are still incarcerated, but these centers do not look like prisons. Officers still manage the facility, but security is reduced significantly. The men who live here either have a job or are in the process of receiving one. Their earnings are managed by the state, but they can save a lot of money to help them get started once they complete their sentences.
Tracy Price is the Panama City facility director. “Some of the guys are able to ride their bicycles to work,” says Ms. Price. “So, with the help of the employers, the residents themselves, and the staff here at the center, we’re able to get the residents to and from work, with no issues, each day.”
“We have employers looking to hire immediately,” explains Ms. Lewis, “so definitely, our guys do get hired.”
The Miami North CRC is located near the Miami airport. Jobs are plentiful for the men who live on this beautiful campus.
“I’m just thankful for where I’m at,” states Matthew Cumings, a resident of the Miami North CRC. “I’m thankful for how things have turned out for me. I’m thankful to the company I work with, for the people at Miami North, Ms. Lewis, and Mr. Daniels; for the support, they’ve given and shown throughout this process.”
The location of the Miami North CRC presents unique opportunities for the men who live here as they each prepare for their release just around the corner.
“And I enjoy what I do,” says Ms. Lewis, “I love what I do. You can feel it in the atmosphere, just the comradery. And it’s almost like family.”
In Part Two of this story, we’ll take a closer look at the Panama City CRC, and it’s unique operation. The two centers present MTC with a new and exciting opportunity to make a social impact.
“It’s changed my life for the better in a lot of ways,” Matthew says. “So I’m just grateful.”