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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary


Inmates at Work

Eighty-one percent of the inmates in DC institutions and facilities on the last day of the fiscal year (June 30, 1999) were working, participating in programs such as vocational education or adult education classes, or a combination of work and programs. The remaining 19 percent were either medically unable to work, were participating in a reception and orientation process, were assigned to a disciplinary work squad as a result of rule infractions or were in some type of confinement for management purposes, including death row. Inmate labor is used to construct new correctional facilities and support the ongoing operation of correctional institutions. Inmates also prepare and serve all meals, help maintain prison grounds, farm and garden, participate in sanitation and recycling processes, and work in PRIDE (Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises) and PIE (Prison Industry Enhancement) work programs. Additionally, inmates are assigned to Community Work Squads. The number of contracted work squads expanded from 3 contracts and 3 work squads in FY 97-98 to a total of 16 contracts and 18 work squads in FY 98-99.

Community Work Squad Program

There are three types of Community Work Squads:

  • DOT Work Squads work under an agreement between the Department of Corrections (FDC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

  • Public Works and Interagency Community Service Work Squads provide "free labor" under a local agreement between correctional institutions and governmental agencies such as the Division of Forestry, cities, counties, and municipalities and for non-profit organizations.

  • Contracted Work Squads authorized by the 1997 Legislature work for an outside governmental entity contracting with the department to pay for services.

The DOT Inmate Work Squads, under an agreement between the FDC and the Department of Transportation (DOT), work under the supervision of staff from both agencies. These inmates performed more than 2 million hours of work valued at $14.6 million in FY 98-99. These squads performed all types of roadway and right-of-way work to help maintain the state's highway system. In the event of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and severe storms, these work squads may be called upon by DOT to assist with clean up, correction and repair of damages.

Public Works and Interagency Community Service Work Squads are authorized by F.S. 946.40. During FY 98-99, these inmate work squads performed over 4 million hours of free labor at a value of $38 million dollars (valued at $9.46 per hour*). The types of work performed include roadway and right-of-way work for cities and counties, grounds and building maintenance, mowing, litter removal, painting, construction projects, structure repair, office moving and cleaning up state forests. These work squads also assist both state and local governments in cleaning up after natural disasters, when requested.

Contracted Work Squads were initially appropriated by the 1997 Legislature and provide positions for interagency community service squads funded by state and local agencies or municipalities. During FY 98-99, FDC expanded the number of contracts to 16 and the number of work squads to 18. The total value of these contracts for the fiscal year was $735,271. Contracted Work Squads performed work similar to Public Works and Interagency Community Service Work Squads. During FY 98-99, inmates contributed more than 136 thousand hours of work valued at $1.2 million (valued at $9.46 per hour*).

The total value added/cost savings generated by DOT Work Squads, Public Work Squads, Interagency Community Service Work Squads and contracted work squads for FY 98-99 was $54.1 million. Total program costs were $24 million, resulting in net benefit to Florida taxpayers of more than $30 million.

New Construction, Renovation and Repair

Inmates labored more than 4.8 million hours in new construction, correction of fire safety deficiencies, and repairs and renovations during FY 98-99 on 343 ongoing construction projects throughout the department. The value of this labor is estimated at more than $48 million based on a benefited hourly wage valued at $10.07 per hour*.

*The base hourly value is determined from the Wage Summary Report for Employment Services Job Openings for FY 98-99, prepared by the Department of Labor and Employment Security, with benefits for social security, retirement, health and basic life insurance added.

School Beautification Projects

Several institutions entered into agreements with their local school boards to provide Community Work Squads to work in support of local schools. Work is performed at the schools during non-business hours, holidays and weekends. The squads perform a variety of duties which include, but are not limited to: janitorial, grounds maintenance, painting, preparation and maintenance of recreational fields, installation of playground equipment, washing and waxing school buses, construction and renovation of buildings and making educational toys. These projects provide cost savings for taxpayers and, further, well-maintained school facilities and grounds contribute to developing students and staff morale.

Vehicle Maintenance Program

Inmates from Loxahatchee Road Prison work on Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office vehicles while participating in the vocational program offered by the sheriff's office. The program provides training in auto body repair, mechanical and electrical repair, inventory, and parts ordering on a computerized system. This program offers marketable skill training to the inmates, a workforce to the sheriff's office, cost savings to taxpayers, and a certificate to the inmates upon completion of the training.

Construction Projects for Other Governmental Agencies

This work program results in money saved for governmental agencies and provides additional work opportunities for inmates in construction related areas. Completed work projects include the Hendry Wilderness Camp, Tri-County Work Camp conversion, a privacy wall to separate a juvenile justice facility from a residential community in Orlando for the Department of Juvenile Justice, the McCarty Building renovation for the Department of Management Services and Citrus County Maximum Risk Facility. The following projects are currently active: Avon Park Detention Facility and Marion Assessment Center for the Department of Juvenile Justice, and renovation of the Sebring Building for the Department of Management Services.

Key West Housing Authority

This organization was in need of affordable housing for employees residing in Key West and other areas in the lower Keys and needed assistance with the renovation and daily maintenance of their properties. The Big Pine Key Road Prison provides an inmate work squad that assists with renovation of the family housing units, grounds, maintenance and other daily related maintenance duties on Key West Housing Authority property and, in turn, the authority provides affordable housing units for the department's employees.

Distribution of Commodities

The department provides inmate labor to non-profit and charitable organizations, such as the Alachua County Food Bank, Mid-Florida Community Service, Inc., and Farmshare, Inc., that are dedicated to feeding the hungry, low income and needy individuals and families. Inmates are responsible for a variety of services related to commodity management and distribution.

Division of Blind Services

Up to five inmates daily from Daytona Beach Work Release Center work for the Bureau of Braille and Talking Books Library Service. Inmates pack and unpack catalogs and rewind, sort and shelve cassette tapes at the library. Further, in accordance with standards set by the Library of Congress, inmates at Tomoka Correctional Institution read and record literature for the sight impaired. Inmates from Tomoka CI repair, clean and refurbish tape players, translate Braille onto cassette tapes, erase and recycle cassettes and repair Braille machines.

The Neighborhood Action Team (NAT)

The NAT represents a partnership between the city of Tampa, THAP (Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan) Homes, Inc., and the Tampa Work Release Center. Elderly, disabled and economically depressed citizens in the community have been cited for having structurally unsound properties. These teams assist citizens by performing work to prevent these people from losing their homes due to an inability to comply with Coding Enforcement Housing Standards. Inmates assigned to this project work with skilled employees and volunteers to repair and paint homes that are deemed repairable. THAP Homes, Inc. is committed to providing employment, if available, to inmates when released from incarceration.

The Neighborhood Team (N-Team)

The N-Team represents a partnership between the city of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Work Release Center.

neighborhood The Neighborhood Action Team at work in the community.
St. Petersburg Work Release Center provides a workforce of 4-6 inmates daily to the city of St. Petersburg to help bring homes and neighborhoods into compliance with coding standards by assisting with the repairs to the neglected homes. These inmates are supervised by City of St. Petersburg staff and work on referrals received from the code compliance investigators who have cited homeowners for violations. Work performed by the N-Team is for owners who are unable to maintain their property due to income, age, and/or disabilities. The team assists with other projects such as neighborhood alley and vacant lot cleanups and assists police with emergency board-ups. The work squad has been assisting the city since 1992.
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