Department of Corrections Secretary James V. Crosby, Jr. said he is pleased with the $31.6 million operating budget and additional $88.6 million construction and capital improvements in the recommended budget unveiled by Governor Bush today.
"The Governor's DOC budget focuses on our core mission to protect the public by operating a safe, humane, and efficient corrections system and by strengthening our essential functions of incarceration and community supervision," Crosby said.
Crosby said Florida is experiencing the lowest crime rate in 29 years because of tougher sentencing and time-served laws.
"Laws such as 10-20-LIFE, the 85 percent time-served law, and the re-offender act help to ensure that violent and repeat offenders do not remain at liberty to victimize Floridians," Crosby said. "Florida's highest crime rate, in the late 80s and early 90s, coincided with the 'revolving door' early release policies and lenient sentencing laws."
The Governor's recommended DOC budget increases the operating budget by 1.85 percent to deal with the expected population growth of 3 percent in 2003-04. Funding recommendations include:
New Prison Population Funding: $28.6 million and 383 positions for security and health care services.
Prison Construction: $26.4 million in General Revenue and $49.3 million in trust funds.
Repairs and Maintenance: $12.9 million in critical maintenance needs.
Health Services: $6.4 million in addition to current appropriation for inmate health care (anticipates 3.6% increase in drug costs and 8.8 increase in community hospital costs).
Food Service Contract: $1.7 million for third-year contract cost of statewide outsourced food service operation ($16.9 million in savings will be realized over the first three years of the contract).
Substance Abuse Funding: Restores $4.3 million in community corrections substance abuse programs and $9.3 million to prison substance abuse programs.