Standing inmate speaks with two representatives sitting at a table during a recent job fair.

Resource Fair Targets Soon-to-be-Released Inmates

Community & Services

Event Offers Hope for the Future

The Orange County Corrections Department recently hosted an internal resource fair for inmates with a release date within 90 days or less. The fair connected inmates with community partners for reentry assistance prior to being released. Among the providers onsite at the jail were Staff Zone, Aspire Health Partners, Recovery Connections of Central Florida, Orange Technical College and Orange Blossom Family Health.

“Two of the biggest issues inmates struggle with are substance abuse and mental health, so it’s important to provide them with support for when they return to the community,” said Amy Hunziker, division manager of Community Corrections, Inmate Programs and Reentry Services.

Operation New Hope was also at the fair to provide job training and support to newly released inmates. The organization, whose mantra is “focus on your future, not your past,” offers a free three-week program in employability skills and job placement assistance.

“I’m seeking stability and the opportunity to regain focus in my life,” said a female inmate who attended the fair in anticipation of her release next month. “I look forward to a decent job and reconnecting with my kids, and I vow never to come back to jail.”

A soon-to-be-released male inmate also attended the resource fair and was impressed by the support being offered. “Talking with these providers gives me hope to get back on my feet,” he asserted.

Attendees were provided with information regarding the Drop-In Center in the Correction Department’s administration building, which they can access after release. The center is open daily Monday through Friday, and computers are available to create resumes and apply for jobs. Former inmates are also offered access to a clothing closet where they can obtain job interview-appropriate attire at no charge.

Since 97 percent of Orange County inmates return to the community, the goal of the Orange County Corrections Department is to return them there in a better state than when they came to jail. Providing them with assistance with employment, educational resources and affordable housing is critical to inmates succeeding as law-abiding citizens when they return to society.

“We genuinely want them to be successful on the outside,” said Anthony D. Watts, Sr., deputy chief, Orange County Corrections. “We don’t want to see them back here and are here to assist them with their transitions,” he said.

To learn more, go to Orange County Corrections Inmate Unit’s Transitional Services.

Back To Top