A Faith- and Character-Based Facility
Wakulla Correctional Institution

Wakulla Correctional Gates

Razor Wire in Rural Florida

Horizon + faith & character initiatives = more positive prison culture & outcomes

  • Horizon programs focus on mentoring, education, family strengthening and transition preparation. Programs are facilitated by volunteers. See www.horizoncommunities.org and www.wakullacivolunteers.org.

  • Ten years ago the House corrections committee and Rep. Allen Trovillion addressed the dangerous level of recidivism in prisons. Focus on education and job skills, faith community volunteers and family ties for successful reentry.

  • In 1999 DOC pioneers faith-based dorm program with at Tomoka CI, a foundation funded 2-year pilot program with Horizon. Early positive outcomes.

  • In 2001 landmark legislation addresses transition and community links in prisons, expanding faith-based dorm program to 6 additional prisons. Ch 944.803 FS. New dorm programs opened, recognized as “positive subcultures” within the prisons. \

  • In December 2004 Governor Bush announces change of Lawtey CI, a 600-bed medium security prison, to a faith & character based facility. The goal is a positive culture within an entire prison. The legal and operational issues are carefully addressed. Deep cuts to education and programs in DOC slow progress but the faith& character initiative continues with strong community support.

  • Beginning in 2005 Legislature provides contract funding for Horizon inside and outside volunteer coordinators for Tomoka CI and Wakulla CI. ($140,000). The Legislature continues the funding in 2006 and 2007.

  • In November 2005 the governor announces that Wakulla CI, a 1500-bed maximum security prison, will become a faith & character-based facility.

  • Research shows positive impact of faith & character initiative on disciplinary reports (DRs) and recidivism, the two key measurements. DOC web site includes monthly reports on outcomes reflect reduction in DRs of approximately 40%.

  • Recidivism rates in the department are in the 35% range. As return rates are usually reported for a 36 month period after release, recidivism figures for faith & character- based programs are still preliminary. However, the DOC monthly reports are positive. Since 3/1/06 at total of 493 inmates have been released from Wakulla CI and 30 persons have been returned to incarceration within the department. This is a return rate of 6% per cent for 16 months. The current recidivism rate for Lawtey CI is 8%, measured from 12/24/03 to 5/31/07.

  • Recently the final report of the Governor’s Task Force recommended that faith & character prisons be expanded to help create a more positive prison culture. A front page NY Times article in December 2006 named Florida as the one state in the country that “got it right” with faith-based prison programs and First Amendment church & state issues.

As more inmates from a more positive prison culture – such as Wakulla CI faith & character facility - transition back into our communities in a coordinated system, both the danger of new crimes and the high cost of new prison beds can be cut significantly. At Wakulla CI and other faith and character-based prison programs, these new prison models are working.


Horizon REEFS at Wakulla CI

Research and Policy

Volunteer Application

Prison Mentoring

DOC Procedure 560.032
Faith & Character-based Institution

Resource Links

Florida Department of Corrections

Faith- and Character-Based Institutions

Wakulla Correctional Institution

Center for Biblical Studies

The Islamic Center of Tallahassee

Temple Israel

Faith Baptist Church

Good Shepherd Catholic Church

Harvest of Life Ministries

Christian Heritage Church

Epiphany Lutheran Church

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church

Tallahassee Equality Action Ministry (TEAM)

Economic & Workforce Development

Workforce Florida

Horizon Communities in Prison

Celebrate Recovery - Killearn United Methodist Church


Horizon Communities in Prison
Horizon Communities in Prison seeks to prepare prisoners
to live responsibly with others.

Horizon Communities in Prison Web Link

Horizon Communities Contact
Hugh MacMillan 321-7071 cell, 222-5155 office  hughmacmillan@earthlink.net

Tallahassee Office:
The Sara and John Edward Smith Building
2245 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32301

News Articles

Florida inmates may do less hard time - Gainesville Sun 8/25/07

Largest Faith Based Prison Opened by Gov. Bush in Wakulla County - Wakulla News 11/26/05