Coordinator: Tina Goerz

Contact:   Phone:  239.878.1864     email: kdog2@comcast.net

 

LIFE (Lee Interfaith for Empowerment) is an interfaith justice ministry in Lee County that seeks long-term solutions to systemic injustices in Lee County. Each year, LIFE engages in a series of yearly processes that have us, as a faith community, talk about injustices in Lee County, vote on the year’s focus, research with other faith communities about who are change makers and what are solutions, organize direct actions to ask those accountable and in power to commit to a LIFE solution, and for two years, monitor the solution/ commitments to ensure measurable success.

The 2015 focus was to demand that Lee County adopt a "Fair Chance" Hiring policy for ex-offenders. In August 2015, LIFE leaders received official word that Fort Myers is now the seventh community in Florida to "Ban the Box" from city job applications.

The LIFE 2014 focus was to increase the issuance of civil citations to juvenile first time offenders.  Training that occurred due to the LIFE initiative:

·         Lee County Sheriff’s Office:  16 trainings (90 officers participating)

·         Cape Coral Police Department:  15 participated in a Train the Trainer program

Outcomes:  Fort Myers Police report an issuance rate of 36% in 2014, an increase from 17%.  A LIFE committee meets regularly with constituents to make sure they continue to work toward the goal of 80% issuance rate. As of 2015, because of the work of LIFE, now more than 50% of eligible youth received citations instead of arrests.