Panama City and Miami North Community Release Centers Support Effective Transitions
It’s an important step back into society, a critical move that is helped by structure and support. Strong leadership matters.
“We have really good leadership here with Ms. Price, Ms. Barber,” states Randy Peterson, resident of the Panama City Community Release Center (CRC) in Panama City, FL. “They have a different vision about corrections. You can tell their mentality is to motivate people and get them back into society through gainful employment.”
In Part Two of this story on MTC’s new venture into operating two Community Release Centers for the state of Florida, we’ll take a closer look at the Panama City CRC. Located nearly 600 miles northwest of its sister facility in Miami, the Panama City center is likewise a beautiful campus for the men who qualify to live here to work in the community and save a lot of money as they near the end of their sentences.
Tracy Price is the facility director. “This is geared toward re-entry, ensuring that the guys can go home, take care of themselves, take care of their families, and be able to have a livable wage once they’re back home and out into the community, and ensure that we can have some good citizens return into the community of Panama City and its surrounding county.”
John Riesett has recently completed his sentence. He is now living in the Panama City community and has kept the job he worked at while living at the center.
“Even a little bit of money,” he explains, “compared to being behind the fence and not having nothing at all is definitely something that helps out. It’s a struggle out here; it’s hard, especially if you ain’t got no money. Lucky for me, I was able to walk out with a significant amount of change in my pocket.”
“When you see those types of things,” says Ms. Price, “it lets you know that you’re in the right field. It keeps you going. It’s the little things that make you get up the next day and say, ‘oh, I can do this’.”
Tory Price is a current resident of the facility. “If you’re lucky enough to get to MTC,” says Tory, “then do the right thing, and you’ll enjoy it. I enjoy myself. I’m having a blast right now. It’s still controlling, but as long as you do the right thing, you’ll enjoy yourself.”
Randy Petersen agrees. “I think being able to make money, save money, send enough money home to my family to help, has been a tremendous amount – the opportunity to do that has helped me transition back into society.”