Florida Department of Corrections

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Prison reform is slated to be a big issue this upcoming legislative session, and a re-do of prison health care contracts will be part of the reform efforts. The new Florida Department of Corrections Secretary says she’s making progress on the issue—something lawmakers are keeping an eye on.

Two Florida lawmakers have filed bills looking to track statistics on “use of deadly force” incidents.

MGN Online

A Senate panel unanimously passed an omnibus package aimed at reforming Florida’s troubled prison system Monday. It includes creating a nine-member oversight board that can do surprise inspections, convene public hearings, and conduct independent investigations of correctional facilities. That part is authored by Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island).

Florida Channel

In the coming weeks, a Senate panel is slated to take up a comprehensive prison reform proposal aimed at fixing Florida’s troubled prison system.

It’s been months since Senate President Andy Gardiner tasked Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker)—the Senate Criminal Justice Committee chairman—with writing a comprehensive prison reform package to help fix a system plagued by inmate deaths and inmate abuse allegations. Gardiner says these are serious issues.  

Florida Channel

A panel of Senators got a series of updates on Florida’s troubled prison system, including the status of use-of-force incidences within the correctional facilities and the inmate health care.

During her presentation to the Senate Criminal justice Committee, newly named Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones detailed some areas she says need improvement.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (l) speaks to Senate President Andy Gardiner prior to the legislative session.
D.A. Robin / WFSU-FM

Florida lawmakers are expected to take up an omnibus bill next week in an effort to reform the state’s troubled prison system. The system—plagued by allegations of inmate abuse and inmate deaths—was also a topic of discussion Wednesday at the State Capitol.

Already, the Chairmen of the Criminal Justice committees in the House and Senate have conducted several surprise inspections of some correctional facilities.

And, a comprehensive bill looking to reform the system has been filed by Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) in his capacity as the chair of the Senate panel.

Florida Department of Corrections

Prison privatization has been a contentious issue in Florida—even costing one Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary his job. But, after the latest DOC head made some candid remarks on the topic, could she now be backtracking?

Florida Channel

Lawmakers are hoping the newly appointed head of Florida’s prison system can clean up the troubled agency plagued with suspicious deaths and allegations of inmate abuse.

Julie Jones, the fourth permanent Florida Department of Corrections Secretary under Governor Rick Scott, has only been in her post for a couple weeks. But she says she’s ready to make some changes.

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The two criminal justice panels of the Florida Legislature are slated to meet Tuesday to take up a number of issues from the state’s troubled prison agency to a gun bill allowing guns on campus.

Newly appointed Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julies Jones is expected to brief the Senate Criminal Justice Committee members about areas where the department is lacking and trying to improve.

MGN Online

During their first week back, Florida lawmakers discussed some ways to reform the state’s prison system—currently plagued by allegations of inmate abuse by prison guards and cover ups.

Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) chairs the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. And, during a recent hearing, he briefed lawmakers on an overview of what’s been going on with the troubled prison system.

Florida Channel

Some Florida lawmakers are questioning whether the state’s prison agency plagued by allegations of inmate abuse can be trusted to accurately report suspicious inmate deaths. That issue arose in a Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing Monday.

MGN Online

During the week after New Year’s, Florida lawmakers are slated to come back into Tallahassee for the start of committee weeks. And, on their first day back, one Senate panel is looking at ways to help Florida’s troubled prison system.

First, Senate Criminal Justice Committee members will hear introductory remarks from the panel’s chair: Republican Senator Greg Evers.

Florida Channel

Governor Rick Scott has chosen a new permanent leader for the Florida Department of Corrections. And, some are calling Scott’s fourth pick for prison chief “a good fit.”

On Wednesday, Scott announced Julie Jones, the former head of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, will lead the state’s troubled prison system.

APD website/AHCA website

Governor Rick Scott announced the appointments of more agency heads Tuesday.

Following Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Scott spoke to reporters about the appointments—most of them returning from around the time Scott first took office.

Bloximages

Bringing stability and consistency to the troubled Florida Department of Corrections is at the forefront of several lawmakers’ and prison reform stakeholders’ minds as the 2015 legislative session draws near. And, the discussion may start at the top.

That’s especially after Governor Rick Scott still has to name a permanent head to lead the troubled agency—after Scott’s third Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary recently resigned.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews is stepping down at the end of this month and Governor Rick Scott named his interim replacement Monday afternoon. Crews is the first of Scott’s agency heads to resign since his re-election earlier this month.

Should the head of Florida’s prison system serve a set term—sort of, decoupling the position from the Governor's term? Or might the state Department of Corrections rethink its methods when hiring new personnel?

Those are just some of the recommendations made by a Florida State University think tank looking at ways to improve Florida’s troubled corrections process. Project on Accountable Justice director Deborah Brodsky says one example is for the department to consider officers’ educational backgrounds and its minimum hiring age of 19.

The death of mentally ill inmate, Darren Rainey, and the way the Florida Department of Corrections handled the investigation spurred the agency to enact a series of reforms to combat prison abuse at its correctional facilities. Now, the department is facing a suit from Rainey’s family—which has revealed new details surrounding his death two years ago in a South Florida prison.

Capital Report: 11-14-2014

Nov 14, 2014

The death of mentally ill inmate, Darren Rainey, and the way the Florida Department of Corrections handled the investigation has spurred the agency to enact a series of reforms to combat prison abuse at its correctional facilities. Now, as Sascha Cordner reports, the department is facing a suit from Rainey’s family—which has revealed new details surrounding his death two years ago in a South Florida prison.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

An inmate abuse protest that started off at the Capitol Monday and ended at the Florida Department of Corrections left both sides parting ways amicably.

Ada Campos’ son, Justin, was serving a life sentence for killing two gang members. He claimed self-defense, but a judge didn’t agree. While housed in Jackson Correctional Institution, Campos says Justin got repeated calls and visits from his family.

http://georgemallinckrodt.blogspot.com/

Florida’s prison system has been in the news a lot lately, between suspicious prison deaths, allegations of inmate abuse, and new reforms meant to address such abuses. But, some say the reforms are not enough and a change in leadership should be in store.

Florida TaxWatch

About a fifth of Florida’s inmate population is elderly. A new report warns as the state’s aging prison population continues to rise, officials will soon be dealing with a severe strain on Florida’s budget.

The Florida Department of Corrections characterizes elderly prisoners as those over the age of 50. According to a Florida TaxWatch report, the average health care costs for elderly prisoners is about 11,000 dollars a year—nearly four times what it costs for younger inmates.

Florida Department of Correction's website

A recent inmate death at a North Florida Correctional facility has some calling for federal officials to step in and address what they call a “culture of inmate abuse” within the Florida prison system.

Latandra Ellington was an inmate at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, serving about two years in prison for fraud. Weeks ago, Tallahassee Attorney Darryl Parks says the 36-year-old sent two letters to her aunt, saying she felt threatened by guards. So, he says Ellington’s aunt called the facility and left a message.

Florida Channel

Governor Rick Scott is weighing in on the troubles surrounding the state’s prison system. The Florida Department of Corrections has been in the news lately for prison firings, allegations of inmate abuse, and the latest: threatening to cancel their contract with private inmate health care provider.

During a recent stop in Jacksonville, Scott told reporters he’s aware of the problems in the system and he says Corrections’ Secretary Mike Crews is taking care of it.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Quincy Police Chief Walt McNeil’s last day is slated for Friday, after handing in his resignation letter over the Summer. While he may be weighing a bid for Leon County Sheriff, he may also be holding out for a return to head the state’s prison system.

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