FLORIDA PRISON CLOSURES IN 2012

Seven (7)  of Florida’s prisons are slated for closure by July, including a major institution at Raiford and a Broward women’s prison, according to a Florida Department of Corrections press release.  However, this will not give inmates any hope of release or possibility of parole when, in fact, this would be the ideal time for our state government to Reinstatement Parole.  Not only would parole reduce the prison population, which will still remain at 103,000 after the consolidation but it would also put a significant dent in the state’s $3 billion dollar budget shortfall and give those who are serving extreme sentences, for a not so extreme crime, a second chance at life on the outside.

Florida Department of Corrections to Close Prisons, Work Camps

As a result of declining prison admissions and excess bed space, the Florida Department of Corrections will be closing seven prisons and four work/forestry camps by July 1, 2012, as part of a statewide consolidation plan. No inmates will be released early as a result of this decision, and there will remain adequate bed space to accommodate projected prison admissions, which have steadily decreased since FY 2007-08.

The prisons being closed are Broward Correctional Institution (CI) in Ft. Lauderdale, Demilly CI in Polk City, Gainesville CI in Alachua County, Hillsborough CI in Riverview near Tampa, Indian River CI in Vero Beach, Jefferson CI in Monticello and New River CI (both units) in Raiford. In addition, River Junction Work Camp in Chattahoochee, Caryville Work Camp near Northwest Florida Reception Center in Washington County, Hendry Work Camp in Immokalee, and Levy Forestry Camp near Lowell CI in Ocala will also be closed.

“Declining prison admissions has led to a surplus of prison beds, allowing us to pare down our budget shortfall by consolidating and closing our older, less efficient facilities. We are committed to placing as many affected staff as possible in vacant positions for which they are qualified,” said Secretary Ken Tucker. Inmates will be relocated to institutions with vacancies that meet their custody, profile, health, education and risk assessment needs. 

To determine which prisons and facilities would be affected, Secretary Tucker assembled an internal workgroup of subject matter experts, who developed criteria for evaluating facilities based on several factors including: facility mission, cost per inmate, maintenance and construction costs, community and employee impact, inmate labor squads, security, education and programs, and volunteers.  These criteria were vetted through a variety of public and private sector entities. The Department employed quantitative measures to create an Institutional Scoring Sheet to objectively measure the pros and cons for each institution. 

Below are some details about the prisons that are affected.

Prison Name

Total Capacity

FTE Reductions

Est. FY11-12 Savings

Est. FY12-13 Savings

Closure Date

Broward CI

611

50

$210,281

$2,523,371

May 1, 2012

Demilly CI

342

118

$—

$6,068,260

June 1, 2012

Gainesville CI

507

150

$3,012,948

$9,038,845

Feb. 1, 2012

Hillsborough CI

431

115

$2,078,663

$8,314,653

March 1, 2012

Indian River CI

381

155

$668,994

$8,027,931

May 1, 2012

Jefferson CI

1,179

177

$1,705,057

$10,230,340

April 1, 2012

New River CI

1,363

281

$3,961,002

$17,644,740

March 1, 2012 CI
April 1, 2012 O

Levy Forestry Camp

292

65

$1,295,421

$3,886,263

Feb. 1, 2012

Hendry Work Camp

280

74

$—

$4,028,832

June 1, 2012

Caryville Work Camp

133

31

$576,264

$1,728,792

Feb. 1, 2012

River Junction Work Camp

736

77

$1,422,818

$4,268,454

Feb. 1, 2012

Totals

 

1,293

$14,931,448

$75,760,481

 

 
Democrats strongly oppose this move stating that the already high unemployment rate will increase as a result of this consolidation.  State Democratic Chairman Rod Smith said the move was part of an “extreme tea party agenda” on the governor’s part.  David Royse, News Service of Florida writes 
The administration, though, said the move makes sense. The number of prisoners has dwindled as the crime rate has reached its lowest in decades, and the state’s lawmakers have eased up in recent years on the lengthy minimum mandatory sentencing laws that were common in the 1980s and 1990s.
 
(http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=535407

They can’t be serious? Mandatory minimum sentences are more prevalent now than ever.  They’re handed out like free peanuts at happy hour accounting for the staggering number of prisoners with de facto life sentences for crimes in which there was no physical harm or injury.  And the ‘administration’ is well aware of this!

 

 


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One thought on “FLORIDA PRISON CLOSURES IN 2012

  1. deborah olsen

    This is amazing,they say that there is a decline in mandatory sentencing ,WHERE? Definately not in Florida.Why they won’t bring back parole is beyond me.They’re so many women who are serving”Mandatory Sentences” who have worked hard to change their lives while incarcerated.I know firsthand because I was one of those inmates.Granted, there are those that don’t,by bringing back parole it will give these women who have changed for the better a chance to live outside those walls.

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