Overcrowded cell at Florida State Prison.
A Prison is a Place
by Ronald Bell, Prison Chaplain
A prison is not brick
And iron bars...
It's flesh and blood
And iron bars.
Jail is really people.
It's an 18-year-old boy
From the Marines...
It's a 19-year-old girl
Who's pregnant, unmarried
And has run away from home
And parents she feels
Don't love her...
It's a big,
Whom most people fear,
but in counseling
he breaks down
and cries like a baby -
because he's lonely
A prison is people.
Supervision of misdemeanor offenders, sentenced from the county courts, is removed from the Florida Parole and Probation Commission and placed under the jurisdiction of local authorities.
River Junction Correctional Institution opens in Chattahocchee, on the grounds of Florida State Hospital. It houses medium/minimum custody inmates and its primary mission is to provide an inmate labor force to support the operation of Florida State Hospital. Today it is River Junction Work Camp.
The Correctional Standards Council is established by the legislature to upgrade and standardize the correctional officer's training program at the local, county and state levels. This council is later combined with the Police Standards Council to become the Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission.
Probation office in the 1970s
The Corrections Organization Act of 1975 reorganizes the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Services, Division of Corrections to the Department of Offender Rehabilitation with Louie L. Wainwright as Secretary. Investigative and supervision responsibilities, as well as Probation and Parole Services field staff are transferred from the Florida Parole and Probation Commission to the Department of Offender Rehabilitation.
Louie L. Wainwright becomes the first Secretary of the new Department of Offender Rehabilitation.
Tents are used as temporary housing.
Tents are used for temporary housing at Lake Butler Reception and Medical Center (now named Reception and Medical Center) during overcrowding crisis.
Inmates Housed in Tents due to Overcrowding
Grady M. Pauley, who retired as Superintendent (Warden) of Tomoka C.I. in 1998, was there. He recalls:
"Prison overcrowding led to the use of tents and other suitable buildings such as plywood structures that were built and/or erected on the site that is currently New River C.I. - West Unit. This location was originally called Butler Transient Unit (BTU). The first shipment of inmates into the tents was on May 13, 1975 and RMC's inmate count on that date was 1,532. (Its design capacity was 700 inmates.) Three months later on August 12, BTU was opened and RMC's count that day was 1,728. When you add in the 282 inmates in the tents, RMC's total count was actually 2,010 inmates. (Almost three times its design capacity.)
The original tents were phased out in 1977 with the last inmates being transferred out on January 11, 1977; however, tents would once more become necessary about nine years later (on July 29, 1986).
During the period between 1977 and 1986, when tents were not being used, RMC was creating more inmate bed space by construction at BTU and the New River Annex , now known as New River C.I. East & West Units. Some new buildings were opened for inmate housing at BTU on June 15,1982 and the next month construction began on the New River Annex with the first shipment of inmates being transferred there on October 7, 1982.
Eventually, with the opening of new institutions throughout the state, and the final construction of New River C.I. East & West Units, the temporary inmate housing units, i.e., warehouses, plywood buildings, and the tents originally located on that site were able to be phased out, hopefully for all time."
Lantana Correctional Institution opens. It later closes on August 31, 1992.
1970s Community Correction Center
Glades Correctional Institution showing the prison chapel and housing dorms. In 20 years, several inmates will tunnel out of this facility using the chapel for cover. (Photo courtesy of FPC.)