The Reception & Medical Center is established at Lake Butler, Florida. It is the first of Florida's three primary reception centers. Today, all inmates are initially received at a reception center for orientation, medical screening and classification prior to being sent to an appropriate facility.
Also in this year, the first state inmate begins work release.
June 30, 1969:
The Division of Corrections is transferred to the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Services with 8,409 prisoners housed in 7 major prisons and 19 road camps; 2,574 employees; a budget of $23,000,000; and an average salary of $5,458.
Desoto Correctional Institution (Arcadia, FL) opens. Later, in December 2000, this facility will be leased to the Department of Children and Families to house inmates in compliance with the Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators' Treatment and Care Act (Jimmy Ryce Act) of 1998.
Female Florida inmate makes FBI's 10 Most Wanted
Clad only in pajamas and housecoat, Marie Dean Arrington escapes from Florida Correctional Institution in Lowell on March 1, 1969 by cutting through a heavy window screen. She became the second woman to ever be named to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.
She was captured two years later and on March 14, 1972 she was sentenced in Marion County to ten more years for escaping. She had been captured in New Orleans.
She was originally sentenced to death in Hernando County on December 6, 1968 for first degree murder in the killing of June Ritter, the secretary of the Lake County public defender. She was out of prison for an appeal bond after the manslaughter conviction in the death of her husband, and was seeking revenge against the public defender who unsuccessfully defended two of her children on felony charges. Her death sentence was commuted to life on August 28, 1972 when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down capital punishment laws as unconstitutional. She remains in prison today at Broward C.I.