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As Criminal Budget Talks Continue, Some Keep Watchful Eye On Funding For Florida Prisons

Florida Channel

As Florida lawmakers continue to iron out how much funding will go toward the state’s troubled prison system, some are hopeful there will be enough to cover staffing levels and deteriorating buildings.

The Florida Department of Corrections has been plagued by inmate deaths and allegations of abuse by prison guards. Understaffing is seen as one of the contributing factors leading to that environment. DOC Secretary Julie Jones has said if there’s enough money put in the budget to fix buildings, officials won’t have to dip into officer funding to cover those costs. And, Baker Republican Senator Greg Evers agrees, adding that’s what happened in years past.

“And, you know, that was one of the things that we run into situations where they were actually having to take salary dollars and move into maintenance and repair, which caused us to be short-staffed,” said Evers, during a budget conference meeting Monday.

As criminal justice budget talks continue between the House and Senate, both chambers are still working out details of the millions of dollars allocated so far for maintenance and repair of DOC facilities. That’s still more than the zero amount of dollars the Senate initially offered.

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

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.