Government Video Website of the Week: Florida Department of Corrections

The site began in 1995 as part of a campaign against unmates' fraudulent pen-pal relationships.
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The Website of the Florida Department of Corrections averages more than 21 million page view per month. Created in 1995, it the first to make online inmate records available to the public and has grown to include a wealth of data on offenders on community supervision, absconders from supervision, prison escapees and inmates who have been released.

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The Website of the Florida Department of Corrections includes 200 years of historical materials.

There’s a lot of information: The system includes more than 100,000 inmates in prison and over 121,000 offenders on active community supervision.

The site began as part of a campaign to fight pen-pal fraud. It allowed unsuspecting citizens who had befriended inmates as pen pals access to accurate information, along with pictures of the inmates with whom they were corresponding and, in many cases, sending money.

Now, it does much more. While the offender search applications are the most popular feature (with approximately 16 million page views per month, or 75 percent of the daily traffic), others serve the public by providing information, reducing printing costs and freeing up staff for other functions.

Like many prison systems’ Websites, Florida’s is full of useful information will send you alerts when a specific inmates is transferred or released. For people on probation, t provide access by county for resources to help with re-entry to society. It has mug shots for the media, http://www.dc.state.fl.us/apps/utopia/index.asp

And it even includes online dog adoption applications. The department has four prisons where inmates train shelter dogs in basic obedience. Upon graduation from the eight-week course, the dogs are featured on an application on the site, which connects them to the shelter where the dog can be adopted. More than two hundred “last chance” dogs have been trained and adopted since the inception of the first program two years ago.

So, for fulfilling its mission of enhancing public safety through education and access and for looking out for the four-legged Floridians also, the Florida Department of Corrections site is the Government Video Website of the Week.

Check out last week’s Website of the Week, where the FBI leads the online chase of bank robbers and others.

Does your agency go above and beyond on the Web to serve the public? Tell us about it at stalwani@nbmedia.com.

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