A worldwide criminal reform program that directly addresses the cause of criminality by restoring self-respect opens a new Florida headquarters in downtown Clearwater, providing a new opportunity for offenders to become contributing members of society.

Thousands of Scientologists and their guests lined Clearwater, Florida’s historic Fort Harrison Avenue for the exciting grand opening Saturday, July 11, of the new Criminon Florida Center. Criminon, meaning “without crime,” is based on Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s discovery that the path to true rehabilitation for offenders is helping each to “find out when he lost his personal pride. Rehabilitate that one point and you don’t have a criminal anymore.”

Internationally, more than 10.1 million people are held in penal institutions, 2.2 million of those in the United States alone. Of the 100,000 inmates in Florida’s prison system, nearly one in three released will be behind bars again within three years. And Pinellas County ranks second in the state in the number of juvenile arrests.

“We, as a community, have no choice but to help rehabilitate criminals,” stated Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center. “No one citizen can say that it has ‘nothing to do with me.’ Because the day any one of us is a victim of a crime, it will have everything to do with us. None of us wants to wait for that day to come. Revolving-door recidivism will be an endless cycle without actual rehabilitation of the criminal. That’s what our new Criminon Florida headquarters stands for: A dedication to rehabilitating criminals so they return to our community as productive citizens. We are here to help. And by helping a criminal restore his self-respect, we can make a difference.”

Recidivism rates often exceed 75 percent, but the Criminon Program is reversing the trend by rehabilitating offenders and returning them to society with life skills that enable them to lead productive lives rather than waste away behind bars.

Today, Criminon is active in some 1,000 prisons and correctional facilities worldwide, with nearly 13,000 inmates enrolled in the program.

In country after country, wherever the Criminon Program has been instituted, government and prison officials have seen dramatic drops in recidivism rates—even among the most hardened criminal populations.

  • In the maximum security Leeuwkop prison in South Africa, after inmates participated in the Criminon Program the number of violent incidents dropped from 1,000 a year to just one.
  • In Karachi, Pakistan, recidivism rates among inmates in the city’s central jail who completed Criminon courses astoundingly dropped below 1 percent.
  • A year and a half after Criminon courses were officially adopted by the Mexico City Penitentiary System, recidivism rates plummeted to 1 percent. The program has now reached more than 14,000 offenders across that country.

Criminon Florida is dedicated to the criminal rehab program instituted nearly five decades ago. It has established onsite programs in eight correctional institutions and delivers correspondence courses to inmates in 100 facilities throughout the state. In realizing its mission, Criminon Florida has guided some 20,000 inmates through courses designed to help them make a fresh start in life as productive members of society. With its new headquarters, Criminon Florida is committed to still further increasing its outreach to rehabilitate even more offenders and slap the cuffs on revolving-door recidivism and stop it in its tracks.

Information displays in the new headquarters provide visitors with key details of the program and its implementation. The facility also includes a multipurpose room for seminars and workshops on Criminon delivery, while an entire wing houses a correspondence course center.

Find out more about Criminon and what the Church of Scientology does to build a world free of crime.

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This new Criminon center is one of six new facilities, each dedicated to helping with the pressing issues that impact Clearwater and the Greater Tampa Bay area. They include:

  • The new downtown home of the Church’s Volunteer Ministers, part of a global movement active in 120 nations—the world’s largest independent relief force. Scientologists volunteer more than 200,000 hours a year in the Tampa Bay area alone, living by the Volunteer Ministers motto that no matter the challenge, “Something can be done about it.”
  • A museum and operations center for Citizens Commission on Human Rights, the world’s leading mental health watchdog group since 1969, responsible for helping to enact some 181 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive psychiatric practices. Its Clearwater information center features the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum.
  • A new home for United for Human Rights, a global education initiative working to identify and protect the rights of every citizen of the world and now every resident of Pinellas County—where human rights abuses and human trafficking rank among the most severe in the United States. This headquarters promises to spearhead the fight against these unconscionable abuses.
  • The new local center for the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, whose international Truth About Drugs program has reached 260 million people worldwide. The program is committed to eradicating drug abuse and providing meaningful drug education to young people.
  • A building dedicated to The Way to Happiness, the nonreligious moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard. Published in 112 languages, the 21 precepts have brought calm to communities torn by violence, peace to areas ravaged by civil strife, and self-respect to millions. The new Clearwater office will provide the moral compass needed locally.