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

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Goal 2-5: To place inmates in work assignments that produce substantive results, reduce inmate idleness and provide opportunities to improve working skills.

Key indicators in assessing progress toward Goal 2-5:

(Baselines indicated in parentheses)

  1. Percentage of inmates available for work assignments employed at least forty hours per week. (Baseline under development)
  2. Number of work assignments compared to inmates available: (12/12/96: 32,234 assignments and 51,245 inmates)
  3. Number of Department of Corrections facilities participating in the Community Work Squad Program. (95/96-80)
  4. Number of contracts with private organizations to provide prison based industry programs. (95/96: 2)


Condition Descriptions, Objectives and Strategies

Inmate Work Assignments and Opportunities

Development and delivery of effective work for inmates that reduces idleness are critical priorities of the department. Inmate work assignments and experiences are believed to play a key role in establishing a pattern of responsible work habits and, consequently, reducing the cost of operations within the institutions. Institutions and facilities supervise working inmates with existing staff and resource allocations. The lack of sufficient work squad supervising officers and work opportunities that produce substantive results has made it necessary for the department to over-assign inmates to available jobs in order to comply with Section 946.002, Florida Statutes, when fewer inmates actually could do the jobs.13 Overassigning inmates to work assignments limits effective utilization of available resources. On the other hand, assignment of all inmates available for work to a potentially productive work assignment allows them an equal opportunity to earn gain time (incentive and work gain time) and keeps them productively occupied. The result is reduced tensions in the institutions. The need for overassignment of inmates to work details requires resolution in the immediate future to avoid unrest in the inmate population that could prove costly.

In January, 1996, the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) published a report that identified a need for an additional 19,858 full-time work assignments to provide full-time work for all available inmates (excluding those assigned to programs).14 A department analysis determined that on June 30, 1997 there were 9,318 inmates available for work assignment above and beyond available meaningful work and program assignments.15 The actual number is subject to change based on changes in available work and program assignments, increases/decreases in the statewide inmate population, and the number of inmates assigned to private prisons.

The department recognizes the need to expand meaningful work and program opportunities for inmates eligible and available for placement in these assignments. It is important to minimize inmate idleness and at the same time productively utilize their labor. It is also important to provide an atmosphere/climate for work and personal development within the correctional environment that approximates the environment in the community. As part of this, the department recognizes the need for the work aspect of the inmate's life inside to be comparable to what will be expected of him or her following release, e.g., to work at least forty hours a week. The department is evaluating the current inmate work situation and developing a comprehensive plan to provide work opportunities that will maximize the utilization of inmates by expanding work opportunities and reducing inmate idleness.

Value of Inmate Labor in the Community Work Squad Program

Value of inmate Work Done for
Department of Transportation
Thumbnail of Chart (Value of inmate Work Done for Department of Transportation)
Chart 2-6. Click for larger view.
Charts 2-6 and 2-7 reflect the value of inmate labor for work done by inmates under contract for Department of Transportation and on public/interagency work squads.16 Inmate labor is provided through the community work squad program in support of the Department of Transportation contract and to assist governmental agencies, counties, cities, municipalities, and non-profit organizations. This program supplies labor to perform work projects throughout the state thus providing a tremendous savings to taxpayers. The Community Work Squad Program not only reduces inmate idleness but assists inmates with their transition back to the community by developing positive work habits and enhancing work skills. After considering program costs, the net value added/cost savings to the State of Florida for fiscal year 1996-1997 was $23.5 million.

Value of inmate Work Done for
Public/Interagency Work Projects
Thumbnail of Chart (Value of inmate work done for Public/Interagency Work Projects)
Chart 2-7. Click for larger view.
Impediments to Expanding Programs and Meaningful Work Opportunities

As supported in the previously cited report by OPPAGA, security considerations restrict inmate movement for approximately fourteen (14) hours per day, leaving approximately ten (10) hours per day to provide work/program activities to keep inmates productively occupied and provide them with opportunities for self-improvement.17 The primary obstacle to providing additional work and self-improvement opportunities for inmates is funding; however, there are other impediments such as physical space limitations, security constraints, and other restrictions regarding the types of work assignments in a correctional setting and the types of inmates that can be assigned to work and self-improvement programs.

Objective 2-5.1

With a current base rate of work assignments for 68% of inmates available for work, the department will provide full-time work (at least 40 hours a week) for 100% of the inmates available for assignment to work by December 31, 2003.

(Work, Training and Restitution Program)

Projection Table
1999
74.4%
2000
80.8%
2001
87.2%
2002
93.6%
2003
100%

Strategies:

  1. Develop a plan, that will establish options available and human resources and funding needed to identify and implement the additional work assignments necessary for all inmates available for assignment to work at least 40 hours a week. Lead Org. Unit: Security and Institutional Management; Other Org. Units: Administration; Executive Services; Education and Job Training, Community Corrections; Regions; Institutions.
  2. Develop and incorporate into the department's Legislative Budget Request appropriate issues addressing human resource needs and other funding needs identified as necessary to the plan developed to provide additional work assignments to allow all inmates available for assignment to work at least 40 hours a week. Lead Org. Unit: Administration; Other Org. Units: Security and Institutional Management; Executive Services; Education and Job Training; Regions; Institutions.
  3. Expand the availability of full-time work assignments for all inmates available for assignment to work by implementing new work assignments for inmates, both as a result of the legislative process and through the development of work assignments not contingent on the legislative process. Lead Org. Unit: Security and Institutional Management; Other Org. units: Administration; Executive Services; Education and Job Training; Regions; Institutions.
  4. Expand the utilization of inmate labor to construct buildings for the department and other agencies. Lead Org. Unit: Security and Institutional Management; Other Org. Units: Administration, Regions and Institutions.

Objective 2-5.2:

By December 31, 2003, increase by 10% the number of facilities participating in the Community Work Squad Program over the current level of 80 of the department's facilities.

(Work, Training and Restitution Program)

Projection Table
1998
82
(2.5%)
1999
83
(3.75%)
2000
84
(5%)
2001
86
(7.5%)
2002
87
(8.5%)
2003
88
(10%)

Strategy:

Coordinate and provide inmate labor for public work projects. Lead Org. Units: Security and Institutional Management; Other Org. Units: Community Corrections, Regions; Institutions

Objective 2-5.3:

By the year 2000, increase by 300% the number of contracts with the private sector to provide prison based industry programs from a baseline of two (2) programs.

(Work, Training and Restitution Program)

Projection Table
1998
4
(100%)
1999
6
(200%)
2000
8
(300%)

Strategies:

  1. Generate products and services that enable inmates to make contributions to society, help offset the cost of incarceration, compensate crime victims, provide inmate family support, and provide for personal savings upon release. Lead Org. Unit: Administration Services.
  2. Recruit private businesses to participate in the Prison Industry Enhancement Program (PIE). Lead Org. Unit: Administration Services
  3. Develop new opportunities and programs to reduce inmate idleness, increase inmate job skills, and improve the prospects for successful inmate transition to the community upon release. Lead Org. Unit: Security and Institutional Management; Other Org. Unit Services; Education and Job Training; Community Corrections; Regions; Institutions.