November 23, 2015
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TALLAHASSEE– The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) today highlighted Governor Rick Scott’s Florida First budget, which recommends an additional $82 million to the Department to provide mission critical resources and infrastructure to ensure the safety of FDC’s employees, those in FDC’s custody and those under FDC’s supervision.
Governor Rick Scott said, “Under the leadership of Secretary Julie Jones, the Department of Corrections has continued to implement reforms aimed at reducing recidivism, increasing safety and improving accountability. These investments will support the Department as they work hard to develop even safer facilities for our officers and inmates, which will also protect Florida families and communities.”
Secretary Julie Jones said, “Governor Scott’s commitment to reform and improvement in Florida’s Department of Corrections is clear in this year’s Florida First budget. The Governor’s proposed funding supports the Department’s critical needs in fixed capital outlay, staffing and fleet. Sustained improvement in these key areas is essential to building better environments that transform the lives of those in our custody and promoting the success of our employees.”
The “FLORIDA FIRST” budget proposes:
$36 Million for Facility Maintenance and Repair – This year’s budget proposes $36 million to address critical maintenance and repair needs in our facilities. FDC maintains more than 4,000 buildings totaling over 20 million square feet, the largest facility portfolio in the state. The Florida First budget recommends funding for the Department’s fixed capital outlay priorities, including the repair or replacement of 140 roofs, antiquated electrical infrastructure and nine 20-30 year old perimeter systems and fences. The repair and maintenance funding proposed in this year’s budget is critical to maintaining safe and secure facilities, and ensuring long-term energy and maintenance savings.
“With Florida’s largest facility portfolio, the Florida Department of Corrections has the unique opportunity to lead our state in efficient facility management practices that alleviate future energy and maintenance costs,” said Dominic Colabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “Florida TaxWatch applauds Governor Rick Scott for his commitment to funding projects that create efficiencies and reduce unnecessary spending of our hard working taxpayers' money.”
$28 Million for Additional Staff – The Florida First budget recommends $28 million for 472 additional positions to address staffing shortages in FDC facilities. The proposed increase in positions and associated funding is essential for the Department's institutions to staff security posts on a consistent basis and not leave critical posts vacant.
“The appropriate placement of inmates in environments that promote success and positive thinking is integral to rehabilitation. Additional officers and facilities allow our state to offer the programming needed to reduce recidivism and improve safety in our institutions” said Barney Bishop III, President and CEO of the Florida Smart Justice Alliance. “The Smart Justice Alliance applauds Governor Scott for funding priorities that support rehabilitation and impact the safety and efficiency of our state’s prisons.”
$4 Million for Vehicles – The Governor’s proposed budget recommends $4 million for the replacement of critically needed vehicles. The Department’s aging fleet is costly to maintain, resulting in a 30 percent increase in the Department's repair and maintenance expenditures since FY 2007-08.
Additionally, the replacement of inmate transport buses is a public safety issue. When transport vehicles breakdown en route, inmates must be offloaded and loaded in an unsecure environment.
The recommended funding provides for the replacement of 99 vehicles eligible for disposal. This includes 10 inmate buses, 49 vehicles for the Office of Institutions, and 40 vehicles for Community Corrections.
$14 Million for Mental Health Care and Other Health Services – The Governor is committed to ensuring that those in the Department’s custody receive proper health care. The Florida First budget recommends $14 million, which will not only enhance physical health care, but also improve mental health care services. This funding will also support the Department’s implementation of the Governor’s recent Executive Orders that require the Department to focus on mental health care reforms.
“The proper treatment and care of mentally ill individuals is an integral part of the rehabilitation process,” said Mike Hansen, President and CEO of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health. “The Florida Council for Community Mental Health applauds Governor Scott for continuing to fund mental health priorities that work at returning healthy and rehabilitated Floridians back into our communities.”
For more information on Governor Scott’s Florida First budget, please visit www.FloridaFirstBudget.com.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 23,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.