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

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary

Secretary's Office

Legislative Report

Department Realignment

During the 1999 Legislative Session, Secretary Moore explained his goal to establish a business-oriented culture for the agency. The resultant legislation enhanced the Secretary's ability to organize and manage the department's resources more efficiently and provided more flexibility to respond to changing needs of the department, while maintaining an effective programmatic structure. Consistent with the Governor's philosophy, the department's organizational structure was streamlined to eliminate duplication, increase efficiency and utilization of resources, and improve accountability of managers and administrators. The bill defined program responsibilities focusing on Security and Institutional Operations, Health Services, Community Corrections, Administrative Services, and Program Services. Service Centers were established to centralize the management of personnel, administration, and budget functions. Regional structures were maintained for the delivery of programs and operations for community corrections and institutions. Standardized policies and procedures are being developed to ensure consistency. Highlights of the reorganization bill include:

  • Centralization of departmental budget authority;

  • Recognition of the importance of the rights and needs of victims as part of the mission statement of the agency;

  • Transfer of inmate grievances from Office of the Inspector General to Office of the General Counsel;

  • Limitation of the scope of the department's design-build activities to site acquisition, management, or construction of correctional projects;

  • Creation of a second-degree felony for escape or attempted escape from a private facility (same now as for a state facility);

  • Renaming of "superintendents" as "wardens";

  • Authorization for the department to take photographs of offenders and to promulgate rules for functions, duties, and operations of community corrections;

  • Reclassification of Assistant Superintendents, Circuit Administrators, and Deputy Circuit Administrators from career service to select exempt service;

  • Requirement for the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to conduct a performance review of the realignment of the department and prepare a report to the Legislature by December 31, 2000;

  • Provides that it is the intent of the legislature that no employee shall lose his or her job, or be required to relocate as a result of realignment. Employees may accept other opportunities at other locations. Provides that no employee shall receive a reduction in salary as a result of realignment, and that all personnel actions shall be in accordance with career service rules and regulations;

  • Authorizes use of Inmate Welfare Trust Fund for visitation and family programs. Provides legislative guidance relating to family visitation and requires that certain minimum services be provided for families;

  • Transfers the contract between DC and Gadsden Correctional Institution, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, to the Correctional Privatization Commission no later than July 1, 1999;

  • Restricts the use of all tobacco products by inmates, staff, and visitors inside state and private correctional facilities. Provides that smoking cessation assistance must be made available to inmates. Provisions are to be implemented as soon as possible, and completed by January 1, 2000. Provides for designation by the Secretary of additional prohibited areas, such as vehicles, but exempts employee housing and maximum security inmate housing areas (death row) from the provisions of the act, and;

  • The legislation became effective on June 8, 1999.

Budget Highlights

The 1999 Legislature appropriated a total budget of almost $1.7 billion for the Department of Corrections (DC), which included the following:

  • Stabilize the Workforce: Provided $12.4 million for Continued Pay Plan for Correctional Officers (Phase II) in counties where a Competitive Area Differential (CAD) was not in effect;

  • Operating Secure Prisons: Provided nearly $5.5 million for improvements to security systems, $2.0 million for major repairs and renovations, $14 million to fund the HIV/AIDS deficit and $418,000 for motor vehicle replacement. Appropriated $4.3 million for Inmate Work and Training to enhance educational curriculum to increase employability skills for inmates and their transition into the workforce. In addition, $1.5 million was provided for Law Enforcement and Correctional Database circuits and support to connect information systems statewide, and;

  • Community Corrections: Provided nearly $6.1 million for community corrections including: $3.5 million for non-secure drug beds, $1.6 million for field officer safety and communication, $800,000 for substance abuse care, and $197,000 for repair and replacement of electronic monitoring unit.

Salaries

Effective October 1, 1999, funds were provided in the 1999-2000 General Appropriations Act to increase the base rate of pay for eligible career service employees, including correctional officers, correctional probation officers, Select Exempt Service and Senior Management Service as follows:

  • Employees received an annualized increase of 2.8% of their base rate of pay on October 1, 1999 with a guaranteed minimum increase of $1,000, and;

  • Professional health care employees received a lump sum payment of $400, less applicable taxes on October 1. These employees will also receive a three percent competitive pay adjustment to be effective on the employee's anniversary date.

Sexual Violent Predators

In 1998, the Legislature enacted the Jimmy Ryce Bill. This legislation provided for the civil commitment and treatment of sexually violent predators after the expiration of their sentences and release from incarceration.

The first year of implementation provided insight into several specifications and the legislation was amended in 1999 with these additional requirements:

  • Refined sexually violent offense to reduce the age of the child victim from 16 to 13 years of age in designated kidnapping and false imprisonment offenses;

  • Clarified total confinement to include offenders serving sentences under the custody of the Department who may be released from other secure facilities, such as a county jail;

  • Increased the amount of time that written notice is provided to the Department of Children and Family Services and State Attorneys by the Department from 180 days to 365 days prior to the offender's expected release date;

  • Required the Department to provide Children and Family Services with additional records in the form of criminal histories, presentence and post-sentence investigations, if available, any other documents containing facts of the offender's criminal incidents, all mental health and medical records, and if returned after a period of supervision, documentation of adjustment during supervision and any treatment received;

  • Provided procedures for immediate transfer of an offender qualifying under the act to a Children and Family Services' secure facility to be detained for evaluation within 72 hours and referral to the State Attorney within 24 hours after that time period, if the offender's release date becomes immediate for any reason;

  • Requires Children and Family Services to notify the department of the release of any offender detained under this act if the offender has an active or pending term of parole, conditional release or probation, or any other post prison release supervision, and;

  • Requires the department (beginning July 1, 1999) to collect information and compile quarterly reports with statistics profiling inmates released the previous quarter who fit the criteria and were referred to Children and Family Services.

Deadly Force

Provides that a law enforcement officer or correctional officer will not be civilly or criminally liable for the good-faith use of any less-lethal munition. The term is defined as a projectile which is designed to stun, temporarily incapacitate, or cause temporary discomfort without penetrating the person's body. This allows officers to conduct cell extractions (within the bounds of department policy) without fearing criminal or civil penalties.

Governor's Anti-Crime Legislation * 10-20-LIFE

Proposed by the Governor as the centerpiece of his tough anti-crime package, this legislation creates mandatory minimum sentences for possession, discharge, or injury when a firearm is used during the commission of a felony. The intent of the legislation focused on deterrence. The new law provides that when an individual is in possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony he or she shall receive a minimum sentence of ten years in prison. Any individual discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony will receive a minimum sentence of 20 years. If an individual is killed or seriously injured by a firearm during the commission of a felony then the perpetrator will receive a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life.

The Executive Office of the Governor and the Department of Corrections are working jointly to ensure that the public is educated as to the provisions of this act. High crime areas were targeted for print advertisements and billboards. Secretary Moore volunteered $500,000 from the department's 1998-99 budget, and was appropriated an additional $500,000 for the current fiscal year, to assist in the advertising campaign in hopes of deterring young people from possessing or using a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Three Strikes For Violent Felony Convictions

Provides that upon an offender's third violent felony conviction he or she shall receive a minimum mandatory sentence of life in prison. This legislation impacts those individuals who are violent career criminals and will keep violent repeat offenders out of Florida's communities and deter those who have been given a second chance from re-entering the system.