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

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Institutions Overview

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The mission of Institutions, like that of the Agency, is to protect public safety, to ensure the safety of Department personnel, and to provide care and supervision of all offenders under DC’s jurisdiction while assisting their re-entry into society.

On June 30, 2012, Florida housed 100,527 inmates in 143 facilities, including 48 major institutions and seven privately run institutions. Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, built in 1913, is the state’s oldest prison still in use today.

Major institutions, or prisons, are similar to small towns in that they have their own academic and vocational schools, places of worship, medical services, maintenance facilities, parks (for visiting family) and often their own water supplies. All mentally and physically able inmates are assigned jobs at major institutions, and inmates are responsible for all the cooking, laundry, cleaning, farming and lawn maintenance at these facilities.

Upon entry to prison, inmates are sent to a prison reception center. Inmates usually spend an average of three weeks in the reception process before being sent to a more permanent facility. During reception, an inmate's custody level is determined, health care and programming needs are assessed, and inmates learn the rules and regulations of prison life. They are then sent to a major institution, or prison.

Inmates in Florida may be housed in prisons, annexes, work camps, work release centers or road prisons. Each facility serves a different function and inmates must be specific custody levels to be placed in particular facilities. An inmate nearing his or her release date, who is classified "community custody" and disciplinary-report free, may have the opportunity to be placed in a work release center (WRC). Inmates at WRC's work during the day in their communities and earn a salary, but return to the center at night and any other time they are not working. They are still considered incarcerated. If they fail to follow the rules, they are returned to prison until their release. Part of the money they earn goes to room and board and victim restitution, and they may keep the rest to help them get established upon release.

The classification of inmates for placement in these different facilities takes into account the seriousness of their offenses, length of sentence, time remaining to serve, prior criminal record, escape history, prison adjustment, and other factors. The most serious offenders, those with the longest sentences, and those least likely to adjust to institutional life are placed in more secure facilities.

CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS (CI): Prisons with fences, razor wire or ribbon, electronic detection systems, perimeter towers with armed Correctional Officers and/or Officers in roving perimeter vehicles. Inmates either reside in cells or open bay dormitories with bunk beds. Some exceptions include those confined for disciplinary or security reasons, and those on death row. These facilities are divided into seven levels of security, ranging from minimum custody facilities to maximum custody facilities. About 86% of the Florida prison population is housed in a major institution or annex.

WORK/FORESTRY CAMPS (WC/FC): Minimum to medium custody facilities, surrounded by fences and razor ribbon. Inmates are usually transferred to a work camp after completing part of their sentences at a correctional institution and demonstrating satisfactory adjustment. Most of these work camps are located next to a correctional institution, enabling the sharing of facilities like laundry and health services. Inmates housed at these facilities may be assigned to community and public work squads. Their jobs include cleaning up roadways and rights-of-way, grounds and building maintenance, painting, building construction projects, moving state offices, and cleaning up forests. About 10% of the Florida prison population resides in work/forestry camps.

WORK RELEASE CENTERS (WRC): House two categories of inmates: community custody inmates who are participating in community work release by working at paid employment in the community and minimum custody inmates who are participating in a center work assignment by working in a support capacity for the center, such as food service and laundry. These inmates must be within two or three years of their release date, depending on their job assignment. Sex offenders and murderers may not participate in work release or center work assignments. There are no perimeter fences, and inmates must remain at the WRC when they are not working or attending programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Inmates participating in work release must save part of their earnings for when they are released, in order to pay toward victim restitution as well as room and board. More than 3,000 inmates participate in Florida’s work release programs annually, with about 3.5% of the prison population enrolled at any given time. Work release centers are supervised by DC’s Office of Institutions.

ROAD PRISONS (RP): House minimum and medium custody inmates and have perimeter fences. Most of these inmates work on community work squads and the highways doing road work. Their jobs also include support services to state agencies, such as collecting recycling materials and moving furniture. Less than 1% of the prison population is housed in road prisons.

Table 1.4 Summary of Florida Correctional Facilities
Facility Summary Total Male Female Population on
June 30, 2012
Percentage of
Population
Correctional Institution* 48 44 4 59,349 59.0%
Private Institutions 7 6 1 10,116 10.1%
Prison Annexes 15 14 1 16,960 16.9%
Work Camps 33 32 1 9,732 9.7%
State-Run Work Release Centers 20 16 4 1,962 2.0%
Private Work Release Centers 13 9 4 1,558 1.5
Road Prisons, Forestry Camps, and Basic Training Camps 7 7 0 850 0.8%
Total Facilities 143 128 15    
Population Total       100,527 100.00%
* As a result of declining prison admissions and excess bed space, DC closed eight prisons and seven work/forestry camps during FY 2011-12. This was part of an ongoing effort to evaluate DC’s use of resources, operate efficiently, and reduce costs to taxpayers. The prisons and camps closed were Mayo CI (Lafayette County), Glades CI (Belle Glade), Broward CI (Ft. Lauderdale), Demilly CI (Polk City), Gainesville CI (Alachua County), Hillsborough CI (Riverview), Indian River CI (Vero Beach), New River CI (Raiford), River Junction WC (Chattahoochee), Caryville WC (Washington County), New River “O” Unit (Raiford), Hamilton WC (Hamilton County), Columbia WC (Columbia County), Hendry WC (Immokalee), and Levy FC (Ocala). No inmates were released early as a result of these efforts and adequate bed space was maintained in order to accommodate projected prison admissions. However, Florida prison admissions have been steadily declining since FY 2007-08.