Reentry Center Opens in Broward County to Help Rebuild Lives After Prison
Legal aid organization opens doors to public; provides holistic reentry services to returning citizens from prison.
UPDATE: *Florida Justice Center no longer provides reentry case management services. FLJC’s focus is now solely on providing legal services.*
Oakland Park, FL (March 1, 2021) –
Continuing to deliver on its promise to provide holistic legal services, the Florida Justice Center (FLJC) today announced the opening of its Broward County, Florida reentry center. FLJC now not only provides criminal legal defense, but also a full range of services for returning citizens from prison including case management, community referrals, and mental health services.
The founding of FLJC was rooted in Executive Director Jonathan Bleiweiss’ experience as a returning citizen. After being released from prison, Bleiweiss soon found that no single place in Broward County existed to guide those coming home to the resources that were available to help them succeed. With over 70 percent those released from Florida prison being rearrested within five years, Bleiweiss knew there had to be a better way. The opening of the reentry center is the realization of his vision.
The new center promises to bring together a wide variety of community service agencies to provide a complete continuum of care to address the needs of every client starting on the day of their release. Already partnered with medical, dental, substance abuse, mental health, and veteran services providers, the reentry center plans rapid expansion to handle a significant portion of the nearly 2,000 people released from Florida prison to Broward County each year.
“My passion has always been for helping those most at risk,” said Director of Case Management Thomas Thompson.
Thompson comes to FLJC with a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling, 24 years of military service, and a decade of case management, mental health, and substance abuse counseling experience.
In addition to case management and social service connections, Florida Justice Center screens every client to determine their qualification for legal programs such as voting rights restoration, assistance with fines and fees, record sealing and expungement, early termination of probation, assistance with technical probation violations, and driver license restoration. As a registered 3rd Party Voter Registration Organization with the State of Florida, FLJC will assist all eligible clients with their voter registration during initial intake or see what needs to be done to re-qualify them to vote.
“When someone is released from incarceration, the process can be overwhelming. From obtaining an identification card to finding a job, the stress and lack of support causes many to return to prison,” said Executive Director Jonathan Bleiweiss. “We’re here to give people the hand up they need to get back on their feet and stay out of jail.”
With specialists in helping justice-involved veterans and staff that speaks Spanish and Haitian Creole, FLJC is ready and equipped to assist people of all backgrounds.
The reentry center is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. They accept walk-in clients, although phone or email appointments are encouraged. The center is located at 3469 N Dixie Hwy, Oakland Park, FL 33334. Parking and the entrance are in the rear of the building.
ABOUT FLORIDA JUSTICE CENTER
Florida Justice Center is the state’s only legal aid organization dedicated to helping people with justice-involvement. Authorized by the Florida Supreme Court, FLJC works to lower the effects of an arrest through free and low-cost legal services, as well as connections to community service providers.
With a mission to empower individuals by providing legal support, community education, and removing barriers to success caused by the criminal justice system, FLJC succeeds in helping thousands of individuals each year.