January 19, 2010
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
The Florida Department of Corrections, which houses more than 101,000 inmates and supervises more than 120,000 offenders in our communities, accomplished a number of goals in 2009, from zero perimeter escapes to opening two new re-entry facilities to tracking down 12,000 absconders and arresting 885 probation violators during sweeps of their homes.
Since the Department of Corrections’ (DC’s) main mission is public safety, it’s worth noting that once again, there were no escapes from the secure perimeter of any DC institutions this year. That success can be attributed to a combination of training and technology, and to our commitment to learning from our mistakes. Keeping our institutions running smoothly and safely, and ensuring public safety inside and outside the fences remains our highest priority.
In Health Services, we will miss the leadership of Dr. Sandeep Rahangdale, who will be returning to the private sector in January, but he leaves behind a very talented team who will continue to build upon Health Service successes and initiatives. Their efforts have saved the Department millions of dollars, even as waiting times were reduced and clinical care improved. It is no wonder that Health Services staff were among the 15 individuals and teams from Corrections to earn Davis Productivity Awards this year.
Speaking of staff, our agency was once again the recipient of the “Cal Henderson Award” in 2009 for being the top fundraising statewide agency for the Law Enforcement Torch Run, raising close to $130,000 this year for Special Olympics.
2009 was the year that we re-assumed full control of our Food Service Operations. Today, we spend less than $3 per day (not per meal, per DAY) to feed the more than 101,000 inmates in our prison system, a remarkable feat. Our inmates continue to grow close to three million pounds of crops every year at 30 different farms and gardens around the state. These cantaloupe, broccoli, cabbage, watermelon and more are used to supplement inmate meals and help us keep costs down. In March this year, the Department asked our new Food Service provider, U.S. Foodservice, to evaluate a Florida peanut butter company based in Jacksonville as a possible supplier for the tons of peanut butter and jelly eaten by our inmates annually. As a result, the Department is saving about $234,000 annually on the cost of peanut butter and jelly, and 19 Floridians and employees of Sunshine Peanut Company who would have lost their jobs without this contract remain employed.
Drug Interdiction, Tracking and Shelter Dogs
Last, and certainly not least, are the accomplishments in our Re-Entry efforts. We opened Demilly CI in March and Baker CI in August as our initial re-entry centers, designed to prepare inmates for transition back into their communities by emphasizing education, substance abuse treatment and re-entry skills. On the education front, the number of inmates earning GED certificates jumped 49% over the last two years, from 1,953 GED certificates earned in fiscal year 2008-09, compared to 1,313 in FY 2006-07, an increase of 640 more certificates earned. And in October we learned that we, the city of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office received $750,000 through a grant from the Department of Justice's Federal Second Chance Act. The funds are being used to assist former felony offenders as part of our statewide re-entry initiative in the Jacksonville area.