ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A first-of-its-kind event in Central Florida is designed to help inmates prepare for life after serving time.

What You Need To Know

  • More than 40 vendors will be on hand

  • The purpose of the event is to create a stable environment that includes employment

Orange County Corrections staff at the jail say 96% of Orange County inmates return to the community. 

Orange County Corrections is hosting a Community Resource Fair on Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the South parking lot of the Orange County Jail on Vision Boulevard in Orlando. It features several providers and employers in one location so they are easily accessible.

More than 40 vendors — including the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Career Source Central Florida, the Salvation Army, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, United Against Poverty, and Valencia College — are represented. This is about creating a stable environment that includes employment, education and transportation resources.

Linda Brooks, manager of Community Corrections and Inmate Programs, explains, “We have approximately 3,000 individuals in the community already being supervised. Our officers reached out to them through phone calls through them reporting into the office and advised them this is what we are going to do. Our officers already know the needs of the people that they supervise, so they focus in on what they need.”

The fair is open to anyone but is targeting resources available to the homeless, offenders on community supervision and recently released inmates. 

“Our booking facility has already been giving out the flyer for a couple of weeks now to inmates that are being released back into the community and that’s our whole focus and our goal. We know that in order for our communities to be good and great we have to have individuals in the community who are equipped to be good people,” Brooks says.

Brooks elaborates that this idea came into play because successful re-entry was a priority for Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. Organizers said they hope this first fair will help former inmates succeed as law-abiding citizens and improve public safety for the community as a whole.