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

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary


For Immediate Release
April 12, 2000
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

Myth vs. fact
on Death Row policies

TALLAHASSEE - Rumors continue to circulate about the proposed new policies for Death Row inmates. The Department of Corrections wants you to know the facts. Here is a comparison of myth vs. fact:

  • MYTH #1: The Death Row policy, including non-contact visitation, has already been implemented and is in effect.

    FACT: The policy is currently in proposal form and has not been formally announced. Once it has been announced but before it can be implemented, interested parties may request and DOC will be obliged to schedule a public hearing on it.

  • MYTH #2: The non-contact policy is designed to punish or hurt inmates and those who want to visit them in prison.

    FACT: The policy is designed to promote safety and security in prisons that house Death Row inmates. Current policy allows inmates and their visitors to congregate in a common visitation area. This creates a potentially risky situation. The proposed policy will promote safety and security by helping prevent the introduction of contraband to Death Row inmates that may prove harmful to themselves, other inmates, prison staff and the public. It will also help prevent a hostage situation from occurring. We cannot and will not wait for an incident to take place before changing the policy that may lead to such an incident. Furthermore, the policy is not designed or intended to punish or antagonize inmates, their families or their visitors.

  • MYTH #3: The policy will also limit the access Death Row inmates have to clergy or religious advisers.

    FACT: This is false. There is no such proposal.

  • MYTH #4: The policy will eliminate canteen privileges for Death Row inmates.

    FACT: Death Row inmates are currently allowed to purchase up to $45 worth of canteen items weekly. The type and number of items are not regulated. The proposed policy calls for canteen privileges every other week and limits purchases to four food items and five non-food items (with the exception of stamps and writing paper). Death Row inmates will use the standard canteen order form to order canteen items.

  • MYTH #5: The policy will prevent Death Row inmates from using radios.

    FACT: Death Row inmates currently are allowed to have large, battery-powered "boombox" type radios that are prohibited for all other inmates. The proposed policy will permit Death Row inmates to use "walkman" type radios only.

  • MYTH #6: The policy will prevent Death Row inmates from using pens.

    FACT: Death Row inmates have been allowed to use common ink pens for correspondence. The proposed policy calls for the use of rubber security pens that cannot be used as or made into weapons.

  • MYTH #7: The policy will eliminate library privileges for Death Row inmates.

    FACT: The proposed policy will allow inmates to check out one library book weekly.

See also the Orlando Sentinel editorial on this issue, published May 9, 2000.

Finally, the Department of Corrections understands that friends and relatives of inmates may have questions or concerns about them. That's why we have an inmate family services office. Click here for more information about this service.