Juvenile Justice and Community Support Programs return to GPD
Published on April 17, 2023
Gainesville City Manager Cynthia W. Curry, in consultation with former Police Chief Tony Jones, will end the departmental status of the City of Gainesville’s Juvenile Justice and Community Support Programs and place them back under the oversight of the Gainesville Police Department. This returns the programs to where they began, opens the door to community collaboration, and serves as a positive step forward in the city’s effort to streamline programs and services.
“This is the time to reset and align Juvenile Justice and Community Support Programs with the multitude of resources that are available in our community,” said City Manager Curry. “Gainesville is looking for creative ways to continue supporting its young people.”
Each of the three programs aimed at assisting youth will transition to GPD as follows:
- The “Interrupters” are a group of advocates and caseworkers who specialize in mediation to prevent gun violence. This program is funded by a state grant that extends through June 2023.
- The Brave Overt Leaders of Distinction (B.O.L.D.) Re-Entry Program helps young men find support services to pursue educational and job opportunities. This long-running and successful program will transition back into the GPD organization for further management and review.
- The Reichert House Youth Academy is an afterschool program for boys in need of assistance while making the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This program in its current frame of operation under the city will end on May 31, 2023, which marks the end of the school term.
“The Reichert House Youth Academy has a good, strong history of helping youth in need of structure and support,” City Manager Curry said. “It does important work across the City of Gainesville. We are confident that the mission of Reichert House resonates as strongly with community partners as it does with the City of Gainesville, and those partners will step up with resources that will allow young people who are at-risk to have access to the opportunities they need.”
Meetings to address the future of the Reichert House program are already underway, as the city works to achieve a successful transition. Chief Jones, who has vast experience working with youth in Gainesville, will provide coordination and support as Reichert House begins the process of becoming independent of city operations.
“The city has taken Reichert House as far as it can go,” said Chief Jones, who has spent 30 years as a leader with the program. “We have shepherded this over a long period of time, and now is the moment for community partners to reset the vision and operations of this critical program, providing services to young men struggling to survive and thrive in this community.”
To date, collaborative partners interested in reimagining Reichert House as a community-based entity include: Palm Breeze Youth Services, Inc., The Children’s Trust of Alachua County, Black on Black Crime Task Force, the University of Florida, Alachua County Public Schools – Student Services Team, and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.