Florida Department of Corrections

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.

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews is slated to end his statewide tour next week of state correctional facilities in the wake of a series of suspicious inmate deaths under the agency’s care. It comes as six correctional employees in the panhandle were fired and arrested Wednesday for beating an inmate.

While he doesn't have a specific date, Crews’ last and 49th correctional facility to visit will be Gadsden County Re-entry Center.

MGN Online

The unnatural death of a mentally ill inmate two years ago has spurred the Florida Department of Corrections to enact a series of reforms. But, some mental health advocates say it’s not enough. Now, the group Disability Rights Florida is suing the prison agency on behalf of other mentally ill inmates housed within the same correctional facility the inmate died in.

Local 10 News Screenshot

The head of the Florida Department of Corrections says his agency is implementing several reforms to overhaul the system that houses more than 100,000 inmates. It’s the latest after the DOC came under fire for its handling of inmate deaths—particularly mentally ill prisoners.

The main impetus behind the changes is the death of mentally ill inmate Darren Rainey, and the department’s handling of the investigation into his death at Dade Correctional Institution.

Miami Herald's youtube

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews has suspended the warden of a South Florida prison where an inmate died in a scalding shower a couple years ago. It’s the latest in a series of inmate abuse-related death allegations surrounding the department lately.

prison cells
Thomas Hawke via Flickr

Human rights and faith-based groups are asking the federal government to investigate how Florida treats mentally ill prisoners. The groups say no one is being held accountable for a man’s gruesome death two years ago.

Florida Channel

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews is a bit troubled by some of the overall prison stats, and he's alarmed by some of the African American numbers as well.

Florida has the third largest prison system in the country, housing about 101,000 inmates. Of those, about 48 percent are black.  

That's just some of the stats Crews mentioned at the recent 29th Annual National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community, which took place in Jacksonville.

MGN Online

In the last several days, a number of bills aimed at helping Florida’s criminal justice and juvenile justice systems have passed in either chamber of the state Legislature. They range from a measure to prevent inmate escapes to another that aims to revamp the juvenile justice system.

Bill Addressing Inmate Escapes

Making sure prison release orders are properly verified is the goal of bill authored by Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) in his capacity as chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

MGN Online

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is continuing to investigate how two inmates got shot at a north central Florida prison over the weekend.

On Saturday, Columbia Correctional officers initially reported two inmates had been stabbed. That’s according to a news release by the Columbia County Sheriff’s office. Later, when deputies arrived at the prison, they realized the inmates had been shot, not stabbed. And, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger says that’s in line with her agency’s investigation of the matter so far.

MGN Online

A slew of measures passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with some now heading for floor votes. That includes the so-called "revenge porn" ban and a bill aiming to address the state's inmate escapes.

"Revenge Porn" Ban

Florida is one step closer to joining New Jersey and California on the list of states with their own so-called “revenge porn” bans on the books.

Altamonte Springs Republican Senator David Simmons says his bill deals with a crime directed mainly at women.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Procedural changes are in store for Florida’s criminal justice system. State lawmakers must address the escapes of several felons who used forged court documents to secure their release. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also reviewing its crime lab operations, after the recent arrest of a former chemist suspected of tampering with drug evidence in multiple cases.

MGN Online

As Governor Rick Scott continues to tout Florida’s lowered crime rate, some question why he’s putting more money into the criminal justice budget.  It comes as the Florida Department of Corrections prepares for a projected increase in the state’s inmate population.

According to the latest Criminal Justice Estimating Conference, the state’s prison population is expected to soon rise, even though Florida is at a 42-year crime low.

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