F.S. 985.618 985.618 Educational and career-related programs.—
(1)(a) It is the finding of the Legislature that the educational and career-related programs of the Department of Juvenile Justice are uniquely different from other programs operated or conducted by other departments in that it is essential to the state that these programs provide juveniles with useful information and activities that can lead to meaningful employment after release in order to assist in reducing the return of juveniles to the system.
(b) It is further the finding of the Legislature that the mission of a juvenile educational and career-related program is, in order of priority:
1. To provide a joint effort between the department, the juvenile work programs, and educational and career training programs to reinforce relevant education, training, and postrelease job placement, and help reduce recommitment.
2. To serve the security goals of the state through the reduction of idleness of juveniles and the provision of an incentive for good behavior in residential commitment facilities.
3. To teach youth in juvenile justice programs relevant job skills and the fundamentals of a trade in order to prepare them for placement in the workforce.
(c) It is further the finding of the Legislature that a program which duplicates as closely as possible free-work production and service operations in order to aid juveniles in adjustment after release and to prepare juveniles for gainful employment is in the best interest of the state, juveniles, and the general public.
(2)(a) The department is strongly encouraged to require juveniles placed in a high-risk residential, a maximum-risk residential, or a serious/habitual offender program to participate in an educational or career-related program 5 hours per day, 5 days per week. All policies developed by the department relating to this requirement must be consistent with applicable federal, state, and local labor laws and standards, including all laws relating to child labor.
(b) Nothing in this subsection is intended to restore, in whole or in part, the civil rights of any juvenile. No juvenile compensated under this subsection shall be considered as an employee of the state or the department, nor shall such juvenile come within any other provision of the Workers’ Compensation Law.
(3) In adopting or modifying master plans for juvenile work programs and educational and career training programs, and in the administration of the Department of Juvenile Justice, it shall be the objective of the department to develop:
(a) Attitudes favorable to work, the work situation, and a law-abiding life in each juvenile employed in the juvenile work program.
(b) Education and training opportunities that are reasonably broad, but which develop specific work skills.
(c) Programs that motivate juveniles to use their abilities.
(d) Education and training programs that will be of mutual benefit to all governmental jurisdictions of the state by reducing the costs of government to the taxpayers and which integrate all instructional programs into a unified curriculum suitable for all juveniles, but taking account of the different abilities of each juvenile.
(e) A logical sequence of educational or career training, employment by the juvenile work programs, and postrelease job placement for juveniles participating in juvenile work programs.
(4)(a) The Department of Juvenile Justice shall establish guidelines for the operation of juvenile educational and career-related programs, which shall include the following procedures:
1. Participation in the educational and career-related programs shall be on a 5-day-per-week, 5-hour-per-day basis.
2. The education, training, work experience, emotional and mental abilities, and physical capabilities of the juvenile and the duration of the term of placement imposed on the juvenile are to be analyzed before assignment of the juvenile into the various processes best suited for educational or career training.
3. When feasible, the department shall attempt to obtain education or training credit for a juvenile seeking apprenticeship status or a high school diploma or its equivalent.
4. The juvenile may begin in a general education and work skills program and progress to a specific work skills training program, depending upon the ability, desire, and education and work record of the juvenile.
5. Modernization and upgrading of equipment and facilities should include greater automation and improved production techniques to expose juveniles to the latest technological procedures to facilitate their adjustment to real work situations.
(b) Evaluations of juvenile educational and career-related programs shall be conducted according to the following guidelines: 1. Systematic evaluations and quality assurance monitoring shall be implemented, in accordance with s. 985.632(1), (2), and (5), to determine whether the programs are related to successful postrelease adjustments.
2. Operations and policies of the programs shall be reevaluated to determine if they are consistent with their primary objectives.
(c) The department shall seek the advice of private labor and management to:
1. Assist its work programs in the development of statewide policies aimed at innovation and organizational change.
2. Obtain technical and practical assistance, information, and guidance.
3. Encourage the cooperation and involvement of the private sector.
4. Assist in the placement of youth into meaningful jobs upon release from the residential program.
(d) The department and providers are strongly encouraged to work in partnership with local businesses and trade groups in the development and operation of educational and career programs.
(5)(a) The Department of Juvenile Justice may adopt and put into effect an agricultural and industrial production and marketing program to provide training facilities for persons placed in serious/habitual offender, high-risk residential, and maximum-risk residential programs and facilities under the control and supervision of the department. The emphasis of this program shall be to provide juveniles with useful work experience and appropriate job skills that will facilitate their reentry into society and provide an economic benefit to the public and the department through effective utilization of juveniles.
(b) The department is authorized to contract with the private sector for substantial involvement in a juvenile industry program which includes the operation of a direct private sector business within a juvenile facility and the hiring of juvenile workers. The purposes and objectives of this program shall be to:
1. Increase benefits to the general public by reimbursement to the state for a portion of the costs of juvenile residential care.
2. Provide purposeful work for juveniles as a means of reducing tensions caused by confinement.
3. Increase job skills.
4. Provide additional opportunities for rehabilitation of juveniles who are otherwise ineligible to work outside the facilities, such as maximum security juveniles.
5. Develop and establish new models for juvenile facility-based businesses which create jobs approximating conditions of private sector employment.
6. Draw upon the economic base of operations for disposition to the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund.
7. Substantially involve the private sector with its capital, management skills, and expertise in the design, development, and operation of businesses.
(c) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, including s. 440.15(8), private sector employers shall provide juveniles participating in juvenile work programs under paragraph (b) with workers’ compensation coverage, and juveniles shall be entitled to the benefits of such coverage. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow juveniles to participate in reemployment assistance benefits.
(6) The department, working with providers, shall inventory juvenile vocational and work training programs in use in commitment programs across the state. The inventory shall list the commitment program, the type of vocational or work program offered, the relevant job skills provided, and which programs work with the trades industry to place youth in jobs upon release.
History.—s. 35, ch. 96-398; s. 59, ch. 97-238; s. 29, ch. 98-207; s. 32, ch. 99-284; s. 42, ch. 2000-135; s. 90, ch. 2000-158; s. 5, ch. 2001-185; s. 122, ch. 2002-1; s. 39, ch. 2003-412; s. 68, ch. 2004-357; s. 80, ch. 2006-120; s. 86, ch. 2012-30.
Note.—Former s. 39.05841; s. 985.315.