Florida Senate Passes Omnibus Prison Reform Package

Apr 1, 2015

Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) is the author of the Senate's prison reform bill.
Credit Florida Senate

The Florida Senate has passed an omnibus prison reform package aimed at revamping Florida’s troubled prison system.

The Florida Department of Corrections has been plagued by inmate deaths, allegations of abuse by prison guards, and cover ups. And, the bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker), says the huge measure tries to cover a lot, from how the DOC Secretary is appointed to creating an oversight board to conduct its own investigations into public and private correctional facilities.

“We needed somebody to be there so the correctional officers—if they had a problem—there would be somebody they could go to. If inmates, if there was a problem, there would be somebody doing the oversight.”

And,  Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) remains hopeful about the prison reform bill.

“We’ve had too many questionable deaths in our prison, and I just really hope this is the beginning of the end of the crisis and the unfortunate circumstances that we’ve seen in our penal institutions,” said Joyner.

The measure passed the Senate 36 to 1 with Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) voting no. Meanwhile, a recently unveiled bill in the House is similar, but missing the oversight board.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.