Guaranteed income

During his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence, Kevin Scott says prison staff served him and his fellow inmates rotten food and kept them malnourished. They repeatedly stomped on a photo of his daughter. “The messaging is: You don’t matter,” he says. “You’re insignificant. It’s brutal.”

But the Gainesville, Florida, resident says the trauma far from ended as he walked out of prison six years ago.

Aside from any emotional damage they may be contending with, newly released prisoners also face burdensome legal costs as they struggle to find employment and housing. In response, a coalition in Alachua County, Florida, just launched a privately funded guaranteed income pilot specifically for formerly incarcerated people, designed and administered by former prisoners. The coalition aims to gather data during the year-long program and raise public awareness about the grim reality of reentering society without help.

From November 10 through December 1, Alachua County residents recently put on felony probation or released from a Florida state prison, county jail, or federal prison will be able to apply to be one of the randomly selected 115 people to receive $1,000 in January 2022, followed by $600 per month thereafter for a full year. A second round of applications will also begin in January.