Officials open First Step facility to help inmates

Officials watch First Step of Sarasota County CEO Shawny Robey cut the ribbon to open the new 40-bed Community Offender Rehabilitative Treatment (CORT) program facility.
First Step of Sarasota CEO Shawny Robey cuts the ribbon to open the new 40-bed Community Offender Rehabilitative Treatment (CORT) program facility with, from left, Casey Collier, FSOS vice president of residential services; Sarasota Commissioners Ron Cutsinger, Christian Ziegler, Michael Moran, and Alan Maio; Sheriff Kurt Hoffman; State Attorney Ed Brodsky; Sheriff’s Office staff members; and, far right, Sarasota County Public Defender Larry Eger.

Residential facility aims to reduce recidivism and the population of Sarasota County Jail

Sarasota County has made a big step toward alleviating the nationwide crisis of jails, especially county jails, becoming warehouses of people whose primary need is mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Funded completely by Sarasota County government, the Community Offender Rehabilitative Treatment (CORT) program is aimed at reducing the population of the jail and providing inmates with treatment options to reduce recidivism.

The program includes the newly opened residential facility with a licensed capacity of 40 beds. It is a three-year pilot program in partnership with First Step of Sarasota and approved by the Sarasota County Criminal Justice Commission and the Board of County Commissioners.

Using a collaborative approach, all parties of the criminal justice system will identify and approve participants of the program. These parties include the Sarasota County Health & Human Services Department, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, State Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office and the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

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Officials watch First Step of Sarasota County CEO Shawny Robey cut the ribbon to open the new 40-bed Community Offender Rehabilitative Treatment (CORT) program facility.
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FIRST STEP OF SARASOTA, INC. IS A 501 (C ) (3) ORGANIZATION. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION ON CH1573 MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL FREE 800 435 7352 WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.