ABOUT THE ORLANDO BRIDGE
The Bridges program was founded in 1980 by an ex-felon who recognized the need for a service provider to fill the treatment gap for formerly incarcerated individuals re-entering the outside world. This Orlando center was the organization’s first facility. Today, it runs 13 centers in Florida and, according to its website, helps thousands of men every year. This particular branch offers a residential substance abuse program to adult felony drug offenders as an alternative to incarceration or a condition of probation. Medical detox is not available on-site.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
Bridges uses a therapeutic community model of treatment—a peer-led, peer-driven program with clinical supervision—that is implemented in three phases. Phase One lasts two to three months and involves therapeutic groups, individual counseling, addiction education, and organized recreation. Phase Two lasts three to four months and is referred to as the “employment phase.” During this phase, clients are expected to find gainful employment. Phase Three, which lasts one to two months, covers re-entry into the community and recovery maintenance.
Program components include the 12-Steps, Bible Study, HIV/AIDS education, mentoring, a high school diploma program, meditation training, grief counseling, domestic violence education, and parenting classes. A readiness-to-work program also includes training in resume building and job skills.
The treatment team includes an addiction therapist and a chaplain.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
The facility accommodates up to 91 clients at a time in a 2-story building that resembles a budget hotel. There is a basketball court on-site.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
There are few alumni reviews available for this facility, and those on file are generally positive, with the occasional complaint. Alum Linda had a very positive experience and wrote in to Best-rehabs.com to say: “The Bridge totally showed me that addiction was a choice I made to cover up old pain and abuse-and bipolar disorder. My eyes were opened..I loved it. It could use some improvement but this place changed my life.” Dan P. wrote in a Google review: “Really had a good experience. Gave me the tools to succeed on my release, to be a productive citizen. Thank you Turning Point. Food situation not the greatest but I am sure they are working on it.”
WHAT STAFF SAY
The employment review site GlassDoor features a handful of complaints about Bridges of America. While many staffers list rewarding work with clients as a benefit, several also mention unsatisfactory conditions including very low pay. One anonymous former employee said: “Lowest pay in the world; you are better off being an inmate – they were paid more to go to work than I was with a master’s degree and no criminal record. Management acts like they are better than everyone and don’t talk to anybody…” And another listed faults as: “HEAVY workload, no appreciation you for innovation…”
Community Release clients pay subsistence for their room and board out of earnings from their job placements. The center performs extensive fundraising in order to keep the cost to clients as low as possible.
Updated September 2015