Criminal Justice Chairman Says Department Lied About Broward Rehab Program

May 2, 2016

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones has landed in the Legislature’s cross hairs for plans to close a prison rehabilitation program in Broward County to open up more office space.

Senate Criminal Justice Chairman Greg Evers is accusing unnamed Department of Corrections officials with lying to him about the closing of a rehabilitation program in Broward County. A spokesman for Secretary Julie Jones denies Evers was deceived.
Credit Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Senate Criminal Justice Chairman Greg Evers is so livid, he sacrificed a day’s work on his farm in Baker to attend a Tallahassee press conference.

The Republican says he wanted to put language into the budget this spring to protecting Bridge of America, but department officials told him it wasn’t necessary.

“So it’s not about Bridges. It’s a mentality that you have to change the Department of Corrections. The other thing is, you don’t lie to me.”

Department spokesman McKinley Lewis says officials never discussed closing the program with Evers. Instead, Lewis says, they objected to the way he wanted to classify Bridge of America spending.

Jones is meeting with local officials to verify the reason she needs the office space, Lewis says. Jones has been told she will have to move a probation office because of zoning changes.

Meanwhile, Evers is predicting Governor Rick Scott’s office will weigh in soon.