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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary

Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to examine the results of the "Rethinking Personal Choice" [RPC] Program, a pilot program that began on September 1, 2000 at the Florida State Prison (FSP). The goal of the RPC program is to generate Close Management (CM) releases that function in open population without threatening the security of the institution or abusing the rights and privileges of others.

The report is based on comparing the results for the group of inmates impacted by the RPC program and those of a 'like control group' (the cohort of CM inmates at FSP during the year prior to the implementation of the RPC program). Thus, the comparison groups used were the respective cohort of CM inmates at FSP from September 1, 1999 through August 31, 2000 (Pre-RPC Group) versus September 1, 2000 through August 31, 2001 (the first full year of implementation of RPC [RPC Group]).

The results for each group are presented, compared, and analyzed based on program objectives. The report also covers the RPC's impact on the movement of inmates to reduced management levels. The intent of the RPC program is to move inmates from more restrictive to less restrictive management levels (from CM 1 to CM 2 or CM 3 or Open Population, and from CM 2 to CM 3 or Open Population, and from CM 3 to Open Population).

Highlights of RPC's Impact on Inmate Behavior and Facility Operations

  • Across all CM inmates, the total number released to open population was more than twice as many (182 versus 86) for the RPC Group (the Group Impacted-By-RPC) compared to the Pre-RPC Group.
  • For all CM inmates, RPC Group inmates spent on the average about 60 fewer days in CM (247.7) compared to those in the Pre-RPC Group (307.0).
  • For all CM inmates, the RPC Group's 'Percent Recommitted to CM' was less than half of Pre-RPC Group's (24.7% versus 53.5%).
  • Across all CM inmates, the RPC Group had a much lower total number of DR's (1,604) as well as a lower number of DR's per 1,000 days in CM (8.1) than did inmates in the Pre-RPC Group (which had 2,520 and 11.2 respectively).
  • The RPC program has been very effective in having inmates control their anger in group and interpersonal situations. For all CM inmates, RPC Group inmates were only about 20% as likely to get a DR resulting in injury when compared to Pre-RPC Group inmates (13 versus 61).
  • RPC Group inmates had no positive drug tests, while Pre-RPC Group inmates had 3 positive drug tests across all CM categories.
  • The RPC Group had 137 inmates whose last status was in Open Population at another facility, while the Pre-RPC Group had only 40 such inmates (a 243% increase).

Conclusions

  • The RPC Program Objective # 1 to increase the number of CM inmates released to open population was met to a very high degree.
  • The RPC Program Objective # 2 to reduce the average duration of time inmates spend in CM prior to release to open population was met to a high degree.
  • The RPC Program Objective # 3 to decrease the number of recommitments to CM status was met to a very high degree.
  • The RPC Program Objective # 4 to reduce the number and severity of disciplinary reports of CM 3 inmates while in the RPC program was met to a high degree.
  • The RPC Program Objective # 5 to increase the ability of inmates to control their anger and aggressive behaviors in group and interpersonal situations as demonstrated by a reduction of disciplinary reports received for demonstrations of violent behavior was met to a very high degree.
  • The RPC Program Objective # 6 to reduce positive drug test rates of CM program participants was met. With so few cases, a definite conclusion in terms of the degree to which this objective was met can not be determined as this time.

Recommendations

Program Modifications:
The RPC program should be modified in order to provide programming to CM 1 and CM 2 inmates. Introducing the inmates to the RPC program at the CM 1 and CM 2 levels will better equip the inmates and the staff at the institution for placement to the CM 3 level and possible transfer to general population.

CM 1 Modifications:

  • Each cell should be equipped with a television.
  • Program delivery should be through video-based programming, cell-front instruction, and in-cell assignments.
  • If the cells aren't equipped with televisions, in-cell material and cell-front instruction should be used to provide programming.

CM 2 Modifications:

  • Each cell should be equipped with a television.
  • Program delivery should be through video-based programming, cell-front instruction, and in-cell assignments.
  • If the cells aren't equipped with televisions, programming should be provided during dayroom activity small-group instruction, in-cell material and cell-front instruction.

CM 3 Modifications:

  • There should no longer be three stratified phases of programming.
  • The length of the CM 3 programming should be reduced from seven to six months.
  • Program delivery should be primarily through classroom instruction and small-group activities.
  • Video-based programming, in-cell assignments, and cell-front instruction should also be used to complement program delivery.

Program Expansion:

  • The RPC program should be expanded to the other three permanent CM institutions: Santa Rosa CI, Charlotte CI, and Lowell CI.
  • The results of this report indicate that the program is having positive results and can be very beneficial to the institutions and to the department as a whole.