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

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary

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1995-96 Annual Report

Organization/Duties
Executive Summary
State Investigations
Inspections and Intelligence
Contraband Interdiction
Safety and Risk Management
Inmate Grievance Appeals
Internal Audit
Audits
Management Reviews
Special Projects
Chart showing allocation of Staff Resources - State Investigations 51%, Risk Management 6%, Inmate Greivances 17%, Contraband Interdictions 6%, Internal Audit 18%, IG Office 2%

Organization/Duties

The Office of the Inspector General within the Department of Corrections operates under the authority of Chapters 944.31, 951, and 20.055 F.S. (Governmental Accountability Act). The OIG includes the Bureaus of State Investigations, Inspections and Intelligence, Internal Audit, and Inmate Grievance Appeals. The major responsibilities include:

  • Perform investigations, audits, and management reviews relating to the staff, programs, and operations of the Department.
  • Keep the Secretary informed of fraud, abuses, and deficiencies relating to programs and operations administered by the Department; recommend corrective action; and report on the progress made in implementing corrective action.
  • Advise on the development of performance measures and standards for the evaluation of agency programs.
  • Operate the contraband interdiction program.
  • Direct the Department's safety and risk management program.
  • Carry out the process for handling inmate grievance appeals.
  • Coordinate all activities of the Department as required by the Whistle-blower's Act and the "Hot-Line" program.
  • Ensure effective coordination and cooperation with the Auditor General, Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  • As a member of the Governor's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (GCIE), share in ideas with other Inspector Generals on improving the IG function and coordinating activities that cross agency lines.
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Executive Summary

The Florida Department of Corrections has grown dramatically over the past five years. The agency is responsible for 58 major institutions, 49 community-based facilities, and more than 160 probation offices. The agency employs 29,000 individuals who provide custody and care for an inmate population of over 63,000 and community supervision for over 138,000 offenders. The agency operating budget is almost $1.5 billion.

To address an operation of this size and its dramatic growth, the Office of the Inspector General has had to maximize use of its resources by addressing matters of greatest concern and vulnerability to fraud and abuse. This report is designed to provide the reader with a brief description of the most significant of these activities for the past year.

Specific Areas of Responsibility:
  1. Manage a statewide computerized management information network and coordinate this activity with other identified key correctional managers.
    1. Provides a daily incident/event reporting system from all areas of the Department that allows for early identification of problems or problem areas and a timely allocation of investigation resources.
    2. Provides for data collection on a statewide basis for review by key correctional managers in developing strategies to address problem areas.
    3. Provides for the systematic and coordinated flow of information to the Public Information Office regarding issues of importance to the public, and the Department.
    4. Provides information from existing investigative reports to the Bureau of Legal Services and the state's Risk Management Division when identified litigation issues develop.
  2. Responsible for all criminal and administrative investigations in state correctional facilities.
    1. Provides, on a regional basis, investigative staff to conduct criminal investigations of felonies in state correctional facilities and to coordinate activities with other law enforcement and investigative agencies including prosecution through State Attorney's offices.
    2. Provides, on a regional basis, investigative staff to conduct administrative investigations into improper procedures, EEO complaints, sexual harassment complaints, etc., in state correctional facilities, coordinating these activities with appropriate departmental staff and, when warranted, other law enforcement and investigative agencies.
    3. Provides for timely intervention to reduce the potential for situations/problems to escalate in areas of specific concern such as disputes between staff, escape recapture efforts, etc.
  3. Provides support to the Office of Security and Institutional Management in providing a safer environment for employees, inmates, and visitors by discouraging the introduction of contraband into state correctional facilities.
      Maintains an automated tracking system for contraband seized within state correctional facilities;
    1. Conducts unannounced interdiction operations in cooperation with security staff and the Florida Highway Patrol canine teams; and
    2. Reviews contraband control procedures at state correctional facilities for compliance with Department policy and procedure.
  4. Management, monitoring and decision making of the inmate grievance procedure for inmates incarcerated in the state correctional system.
    1. Provides inmates an avenue to seek administrative review of complaints about issues and situations that affect them personally.
    2. Provides an avenue of issue identification to managers in areas under the Department's control that may need correction.
    3. Provides information to managers and key staff regarding potential litigation issues.
    4. Provides for early identification of issues/situations that need investigation.
    5. Provides a mechanism to reduce the cost to the state of inmate litigation in the courts by making administrative remedies available.
  5. Internal Audit responsibility for assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of management controls and programs to determine compliance with Department policies and procedures.
    1. Conducts compliance audits in accordance with professional standards.
    2. Conducts management reviews at Department facilities and offices to identify management deficiencies and monitor corrective actions.
    3. Assists with investigations involving fraud, waste, or misappropriation of funds.
    4. Serves as the Department's liaison with the Office of the Auditor General and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability on all audits and performance reviews done by these offices.
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Bureau of State Investigations

The Bureau of State Investigations is responsible for conducting criminal, administrative and internal affairs investigations for the agency. Criminal investigations are referred to the appropriate State Attorney's Office for prosecution. Administrative and Internal Affairs investigations are referred to management for the appropriate follow-up action. During 1995-96 there were 13,493 incidents reported to the Inspector General's office. The reported incidents were classified in the following categories:

CLASSIFICATION OF INCIDENT
NUMBER
Complaints Against Staff
2,669
Inmate Injuries or Death
568
Crimes vs. Persons (Violent)
2,445
Crimes vs. Persons -- Property (Non-Violent)
1,037
Escape / Attempted Escape
429
Sexual Harassment (Staff)
39
Recovery/Possession of Contraband
4,612
Civil Rights (Staff)
82
Employee Arrests
299
Other
1,313
TOTAL
13,493

Of these incidents, 3,014 official investigations were assigned. Of the 3,014 investigations assigned, 2,840 were completed as of June 30, 1996.

A total of 648 cases were completed and forwarded to the State Attorney's Offices throughout Florida for possible criminal prosecution.

A total of 121 civil rights cases were assigned to the Bureau's investigators. These cases were both internal (originating within the Department of Corrections) and external cases (referred to this Department for investigation by the Florida Commission on Human Relations and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

INVESTIGATION ASSIGNMENT
Region
IG's
Inspectors

Institutional
Inspectors

P&P
Inspectors

Total
I
367
699
0
1,066
II
287
396
0
683
III
138
161
7
306
IV
181
152
14
347
V
342
246
24
612
Total
1,315
1,654
45
2,727

Continued growth is expected in the areas of criminal and administrative investigations as both the inmate population and staff expand their numbers as well as an increase in investigations generated by the U.S.A. case, Americans With Disabilities Act, EEO complaints, sexual harassment, the Whistle-blower's Act, and alleged physical abuse cases. In addition to sheer growth in the number of offenders incarcerated, as the inmate population becomes more violent and stays in the system longer due to the 85% requirement, we can expect an increase in crimes against persons as well as other inmate misconduct.

Investigation Highlights

As illustrated by the chart above, the majority of reported incidents involve:

  1. complaints against staff, which include improper conduct, excessive use of force, and staff/offender relationships;
  2. crimes vs. persons, which include battery on a law enforcement officer, battery on another inmate, sexual battery, and possession of a weapon; and
  3. recovery/possession of contraband such as alcohol (including inmates' homemade buck), drugs, money, and other forms of contraband.

Of the more than 13,000 reported incidents, approximately 3,000 or 20% resulted in formal investigations. Of those allegations investigated, some examples of the types of cases include:

  • Employee Fraud - An employee at a major institution conspired with a vendor to rig bids for various items purchased by the Department. A total of $39,947 worth of items was purchased by this "former" employee through his use of false documentation to circumvent the bid process. As a result of this investigation, the State Attorney filed a multi-count indictment against both the former employee and the outside vendor.
  • Violation of Visiting Rules - An employee placed the names and addresses of several people on the official visiting list of several inmates. He received financial compensation from the inmates or their friends since those placed on the visiting lists had never been approved for visitation. This individual is awaiting trial as a result of the investigation.
  • Escape - Over 400 incidents of actual or attempted escape were reported. The vast majority of these incidents were reports of activity indicating possible escape attempts, and resulted in the inmates being placed in confinement and under investigation before the escape had a chance to occur.
  • Staff Misconduct - With more than 29,000 Department employees and over 200,000 offenders either incarcerated or supervised in the community, there are going to be allegations of staff misconduct. Based on available evidence and witness statements, each incident is analyzed utilizing solvability factors as well as the seriousness of the allegations. Of the investigations done on staff, in excess of 90% result in the allegations being unsubstantiated and the employee being exonerated.
  • Reporting System - Through the incident reporting system (Inspector General Logs), the inmate grievance process, the Comptroller's Hotline, and the Whistle-blower process as well as complaint letters, the Department of Corrections has a system in which all allegations are presented to the Inspector General's office for possible investigation. It is a comprehensive system which other states have looked toward emulating.
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Bureau of Inspections and Intelligence

Contraband Interdiction Unit

The Contraband Interdiction Unit was established within the Bureau of Inspections and Intelligence in 1993. The unit's mission is to provide a safer environment for employees, inmates and visitors by discouraging the introduction of contraband into state correctional facilities.

The unit conducts unannounced interdiction operations at Department of Corrections facilities in cooperation with the Florida Highway Patrol canine teams. During these operations, employees, visitors, inmates, vehicles and areas on department grounds are searched for contraband. In addition to a physical search employees, visitors and inmates are subject to inspection by a chemical detection unit called "Ionscan." This system detects the presence of illegal drugs on persons and objects. During these operations, contraband control procedures utilized by facility management are reviewed for compliance.

Accomplishments during fiscal year 1995-1996 included 33 interdiction operations with the following results:

Discipline:
Employees
126
Inmates
13
Arrests:
Employees
3
Visitors
23
Inmates
2
Seizures:
Alcohol
commercial
16 ounces
homemade
18 gallons
Drugs
marijuana
162.7 grams
cocaine
33.5 grams
Weapons:
commercial sharps
925
homemade sharps
259
blunt instruments
239
firearms (in vehicles)
20
ammunition (in vehicles)
417
Cash
$168.85
Ionscans
Employees
4,615
Visitors
2,248
Inmates
29
Total:
6,892

Together with the Florida Highway Patrol, we have sent a clear message to staff, visitors, and inmates that we are serious about reducing the flow of contraband into our facilities. It is because of such efforts that the Department of Corrections and the Florida Highway Patrol have become a success story of two state agencies working together toward a common goal - public safety.

One of our goals is to acquire an additional Ionscan device and related equipment so as to increase the frequency of interdiction operations.

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Office of Safety and Risk Management

The Office of Safety and Risk Management was established to promote increased safety awareness throughout the Department, to prevent employee and inmate job related accidents, and to control risk losses by providing for the fire and occupational safety of employees and inmates under control of the agency.

During 1996 the Office of Risk Management was placed under the Office of the Inspector General as part of the agency's realignment process.

Inspections

Again as in the year before, the major thrust of the department's risk management efforts in 1996 was to prevent fire safety and occupational safety hazards at all state correctional facilities. Annual inspections of established institutions as well as inspections of new and renovated correctional facilities provided a safer work place for employees, volunteers and a safer residential environment for inmates throughout the state correctional system.

Training

Training sessions on loss control management were conducted in each region. This training included Casual Report Series analysis, review of Workers' Compensation claims, review of the Department's safety manual, and lost property training. Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus training was also made available to all institutions in order to provide rescue and evacuation techniques from smoke-filled environments. Confined Space Training was also given in each region, but was conducted by a private firm. Several sessions of the Department's fire and occupational safety orientation were conducted along with Office of Health Services environmental safety orientation. Building evacuation classes were also conducted by safety and risk management staff periodically through the year at the central office.

Significant accomplishments during the past year included the following:

  • Intermediate construction inspections - 51
  • Final construction inspections - 178
  • Fire safety and occupation safety inspections - 2,601 buildings
  • 244 hours of training in safety and loss control
  • A Davis Productivity Award was presented to the Workers' Compensation Team for its successful efforts in reducing the number of claims and costs for Union Correctional Institution and New River Correctional Institution.
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Bureau of Inmate Grievance Appeals

The purpose of the grievance procedure is to provide inmates with a channel for the administrative settlement of legitimate complaints. In addition to providing inmates with an opportunity to have grievances heard and considered, the procedure assists the Department by providing an additional means for internal resolution of problems and improving lines of communication. This procedure also provides a written record in the event of subsequent judicial or administrative review. This is even more important now that certification has been granted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Number of grievances received, reviewed and processed in FY 1995-96:

Received
Transfers
326
Program Assignments
1,935
Communications
598
Confinement
478
Discipline
7,290
Institutional Operations
2,455
Medical
3,310
Legal
5,887
Grievance Process
1,619
Staff Complaints
3,516
Personal Property
1,250
Food Services
777
Miscellaneous
1,044
Reading Material
144
ADA
29
Total Received
30,658

Processed/Completed
Approved
1,667
Denied
16,343
Returned
12,668
Withdrawn
0
Other
61
Total Processed
30,739

Certification of Inmate Grievance Procedure

The Department of Corrections pursued certification for several years. On March 25, 1992, Secretary Singletary was notified that the Florida Department of Corrections had been awarded full certification of its grievance procedure for inmates.

Federal Courts have been notified by the Justice Department that inmates can be required to exhaust administrative remedies prior to the court accepting their complaints. Additionally, the courts can require the inmates to demonstrate to the courts that they have exhausted their administrative remedies.

Since certification, our management and responsiveness to our own procedure have been under ever increasing and closer scrutiny. The courts are now able to see how we have attempted to resolve complaints. We must ensure that our handling of grievance complaints represents a genuine reflection of the Department's intent, which is to fairly and equitably resolve all complaints registered by inmates. This does not mean all complaints are to be resolved in the inmates' favor. It does mean that the inmate receives a fair and impartial review, evaluation, appropriate investigation, and response to the complaint on its merit.

The benefits of certification and a properly managed grievance procedure include: information which can be used as a correctional management tool to determine where problems exist and where corrections/adjustments are needed; information to identify where good practices exist that can be shared with others; improved staff credibility with inmates; improved Department credibility with the courts; documentation of issues which inmates later take to court and require response from the Department; resolution of issues internally before they go to court; and reduction in the number of complaints filed in court.

Although grievance receipts in the Bureau of Inmate Grievance Appeals are steadily increasing, the bureau is currently maintaining caseloads and reducing backlogs. This has been accomplished by shifting some of the responsibilities that can be handled at lower levels, and implementing procedures to streamline the process without compromising the quality of the final product. This streamlining and shifting of responsibilities has decreased the average response time from 46.6 days at the time the bureau was audited in 1993, to 33.6 days in 1995, and to 27.4 days in 1996. Over the past two years, many positive comments regarding the efficiency of the inmate grievance office have been received from institutional staff, central office staff, and outside agencies.

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Bureau of Internal Audit

Internal Audit Mission

The mission of the Bureau of Internal Audit is to:

  • determine whether Department operations and expenditures are carried out in accordance with applicable laws, rules, and directives, and in an effective and efficient manner;
  • verify that adequate controls are in place to safeguard Department assets against waste, loss and misuse; and
  • provide reliable data about these matters to the Secretary and other Department administrators so that they may more effectively manage the Department and meet its lawfully established goals.

Financial and Compliance Audit Section

The Financial and Compliance Audit Section employs nine professional staff members with oversight from the Bureau Chief who functions as Chief Internal Auditor per Section 20.055 F.S. The staff includes two Certified Internal Auditors, two Certified Public Accountants, and one Certified Fraud Investigator. The nature of their work places them on the road much of the year as they audit Department facilities and programs throughout the state.

Fiscal year 1995-96 was a period of transition for the Audit Section. Prior to that year, resources traditionally were focused on audits of Inmate Welfare Trust Funds. These funds were established to process revenues and expenses associated with inmate canteen transactions and inmate use of contracted telephone services. Risk in this area was significantly reduced in recent years by the implementation of a cashless canteen system.

During the past year, the Audit Section used risk assessment methodology to identify additional high-risk areas for audit within the Department. Areas identified for audit included Department relationships with outside contractors; bid and request-for-proposal processes; prison construction; and contract monitoring/compliance. Bureau assignments included audits of multi-million-dollar food service contracts in South Florida, a major institution construction project in Wakulla County, inmate medical care contracts at three locations, and contract drug treatment programs statewide.

The bureau issued nine audit reports during fiscal year 1995-96:

  • Audits of Inmate Welfare Trust Funds at Indian River, Hendry, Calhoun, and Okaloosa Correctional Institutions identified compliance issues related to the operations of inmate canteens and the Inmate Welfare Trust Fund.
  • Three audits were completed at the Department's Central Office in Tallahassee. A payroll procedures audit identified few exceptions and verified that the Department has appropriately addressed internal control issues. An audit of the Department's Management Information Systems offered recommendations regarding security risk assessment and disaster contingency plans. An audit of the Central Office Bidding Process found instances where the results of the bid process were not used appropriately to award contracts. Additional audit work is continuing to examine procurement activity within the Department .
  • An audit of the Court Ordered Payment System (COPS) at the Tallahassee Main Probation and Parole Office addressed file documentation and internal control issues.
  • Audits of contract food service operations found significant control weaknesses in invoice documentation.
  • An audit of a major construction project highlighted a need for enhanced project planning methods.

Management Review Section

The Management Review Section employs four professional staff members, including a Section Supervisor. This section coordinates the work of an ad hoc review team which examines more than 100 existing correctional institutions and facilities, 5 regional offices and 20 probation circuits at least once every two years. The reviews verify compliance with standards addressing all major facets of facility/office operations, ranging from security to fiscal procedures and food service operations. During a typical five-day review, a major institution (prison) is evaluated by the team for compliance with more than 1,200 standards. The team's report gives Department management a snapshot of the facility's operations and is then used to develop improvement plans.

A major accomplishment in the Management Review Section this past year was the revision of its assessment documents. Four "manuals" -- one each for major institutions, community facilities, regional offices, and probation and parole circuits -- were rewritten to reflect changes in the laws, rules and procedures which serve as criteria for review standards. In all, more than 4,000 compliance standards are detailed in the manuals.

A procedural review was conducted on the management review process itself, to define and formalize the many steps by which information flows from the review team to Department managers and administrators. This procedural review served as a springboard for implementing several changes in how reports are compiled and transmitted.

The work product for this section during FY 1995-96 consisted of 62 team-led reviews: 30 major institutions, 10 probation and parole circuits, 20 community facilities and 2 regional offices. In addition, management review staff coordinated an additional 60 self-reviews performed by local facility staff. The team-led reviews and self-reviews are conducted so that all facilities within the Department receive at least one review each fiscal year.

Get Lean Hotline

The Bureau also coordinates Department responses to suggestions and complaints received via the Comptroller's Get Lean Hotline. During FY 1995-96, the Bureau received 104 hotline items. Of these, 65 involved complaints against Department staff, 12 involved questions or complaints about Department policy, and 27 were suggestions for cost savings. The table below shows a breakdown by category.

GET LEAN HOTLINE
Complaints Received
During FY 1995-96

Complaints Against Staff
Timesheet fraud
18
Falsification of documents
3
Misuse of state resources
15
Harassment/discrimination
11
Other complaints about staff
18
Agency Policy
Questions/complaints
12
Suggestions for Cost Savings
Fewer inmate amenities
2
Restructure Agency practices
23
Outside firms/agencies
2
Total
104

Of the 65 complaints against staff, some form of corrective action was taken in 12 instances to remedy substantiated allegations/complaints. From among the 27 suggestions aimed at cost savings, no measurable savings were reported.

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Special Projects

Performance Measures
The Department of Corrections is required to submit its 1998-99 Legislative Budget Request by September 1, 1997, in a performance- based budgeting format. In order to address this process early on, the Office of the Inspector General, together with representatives from budget, planning, programs, etc., finalized a proposed program structure and submitted it to the Executive Office of the Governor for approval in May, 1996 (with revisions submitted in October, 1996). Two draft sets of performance measures have been developed toward a goal of finalization by June, 1997.
Staff Training
All department inspectors, including both IG and institutional inspectors, were provided job-specific training this past year which included report writing, investigative techniques, interviewing techniques, and a review of statutes and Department rules.
Inspector General Workshop
The IG's annual workshop was held October 22-25, 1996, in Cocoa Beach, Florida. More than 120 IG and institutional staff attended. Training included sessions on kinesthetics, handling change in the workplace, civil rights investigations, interview methods, grievance response procedures, and computer fraud. Over 90% of those in attendance rated the workshop good/excellent and indicated it was the best workshop they had attended.
Management Review Data Management System
The Bureau of Internal Audit began development of a computerized system for writing and analyzing management review findings. Beginning in October, 1996, review coordinators began inputting their findings directly into PC-based data systems located at each review site.
The custom data system is pre-loaded with more than 1,200 statewide review standards, and significantly reduces the time needed to generate reports so they can be reviewed by local, regional and statewide administrators. The same data system is then used to capture and print corrective action responses entered by each review site. The data is pre-formatted for use in database software without re-keying as would otherwise be required.
Work is under way to complete a central database of these reviews designed to provide management with in-depth reports and analyses of findings from more than 100 major institutions, probation circuits and other review sites statewide. This represents a major enhancement for management review, which will now be able to provide comparative statewide analysis of data which previously could only be viewed from the perspective of individual sites.