Governor Crist Signs 2008-2009 Budget Public Safety Issues Highlighted
Tallahassee – Governor Charlie Crist signed Florida’s 2008-09 budget, which maintains Florida’s commitment to ensuring inmates serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences, with funding for an additional 10,200 prison beds.
“Governor Crist and the Florida Legislature have maintained the necessary public safety dollars in our budget,” said Department of Corrections Secretary Walter A. McNeil. “Faced with challenging economic times, the Governor fought hard to ensure our ability to protect Floridians.”
Highlight of this year’s budget include:
Prison Construction – The 2008-09 budget provides approximately $308 million in funding for the addition of 10,200 prison beds, including five new work camps. Work camps have become an integral component in many of Florida’s cities and counties, providing inmates with a valuable work experience and local governments with reduced labor costs. The funds also include $7 million to complete improvements to the water systems at Martin Correctional Institution.
Correctional Officers – Despite these difficult fiscal times, the Legislature held Florida’s correctional officers harmless from budget reductions.
Inmate Health Services –The Legislature provided $427 million for Inmate Health Services for the 2008-09 Fiscal Year. The Department’s Inmate Health Services operations provide physical, mental, and dental health care to all inmates, as required by federal law.
“While we know the coming fiscal year will be challenging, our Department is committed working with the legislature in order to maintain our public safety mission,” said Secretary McNeil.
For more information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at (850) 488-0420.