Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Third State Work Release Center Set; West 12th Street Site to Open in August Will House Up to 100 Prisoners

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Third State Work Release Center Set; West 12th Street Site to Open in August Will House Up to 100 Prisoners

Article excerpt

Byline: JESSIE-LYNNE KERR

The Florida Department of Corrections plans to move into a vacant former federal work release center on West 12th Street in Jacksonville and use it to house up to 100 men.

The prisoners, who will be in the final 10 to 15 months of their sentences, will be required to work at paid employment during the day, returning to the center each evening.

David Tune, correctional program administrator, said that no rezoning is required because the original builder of the facility obtained it before the $1 million facility opened in 1998. The department will have a public hearing on its plans at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 6, at the Hammond Community Center at 3312 W. 12th St.

The building, at 5110 W. 12th St., was used as a halfway house for federal prisoners beginning in 1998. The company operating that facility, known as the Jacksonville Community Service Center, built a larger facility just to the south at 2020 Dahlia Road more than a year ago. It houses 41 men.

Tune said the state center will be operated under contract with Bridges of Orlando, a private vendor that operates five other work release centers throughout Florida.

The center, which will employ 25 people, is expected to open Aug. 22, Tune said.

"We have informed the local officials of our plans," he said.

However, City Councilman Reggie Fullwood, who represents that area, said he had not heard of the plans until contacted by a reporter.

"Maybe they contacted the Sheriff's Office about this, but they did not contact me," Fullwood said.

Aurora Padgett, who has lived since the late 1980s across West 12th Street from the site, said she had not been informed about plans to move state prisoners into the center.

"I don't like it," she said, "because I don't think it's good for the community."

Padgett said she and her neighbors tried to block the federal work release center when it was obtaining the required zoning in the mixed residential and commercial neighborhood, but were unsuccessful. …

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