The Florida Department of Corrections (DC) is the third largest state prison system in the country with a budget of $2.4 billion, just over 100,000 inmates incarcerated and another 115,000 offenders on active community supervision.
The DC has 143 facilities statewide, including 48 major institutions, 15 annexes, seven private facilities (contracts for the private facilities are overseen by the Florida Department of Management Services), 33 work camps, six road prisons and forestry camps, one boot camp, 20 DOC operated work release centers along with 13 more work release centers operated by various private vendors (DOC oversees these contracts). About three quarters of its staff of more than 25,000 employees are either certified correctional officers or probation officers. The average DC employee is 41 years old and has been with the agency for almost nine years. There were no prison escapes from a major prison last fiscal year.
Prisons are generally managed by state government, but Florida does have seven privately run prisons. Florida’s jails, generally, are run by individual counties. The main difference between jails and prisons is that jail inmates may be awaiting sentencing, and prison inmates have already been convicted and sentenced. Also, jail inmates usually are sentenced to a year or less, and for a lower level crime such as a misdemeanor, whereas prison inmates usually have sentences of more than a year for more serious felony offenses.
The mission of the Florida DC is to protect the public safety, to ensure the safety of Department personnel, and to provide proper care and supervision of all offenders under our jurisdiction while assisting, as appropriate, their reentry into society. To that end, the DC provides dozens of academic, vocational and substance abuse programs to inmates and offenders, including in such areas as GED, adult basic education and mandatory literacy; printing and graphics, carpentry and digital design; and Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
In Fiscal Year 2008-09, about 39,354 inmates were admitted into prisons and another 37,391 were released; while 100,619 offenders were placed on community supervision and another 103,392 were released from supervision. Given the fact that most of those who serve time in prison and on supervision will eventually be free, the DC is focusing on equipping its inmates and offenders with the tools they will need to become productive citizens.