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Initial Prison Audit Highlights Areas Florida Is Doing Well, Not So Well

MGN Online

The Florida Department of Corrections doesn’t have enough staff and should increase the number of cameras at its institutions. That’s according to an audit of several of the state’s prison facilities highlighting areas the agency is doing well, and not so well.

The audit covers Columbia, Dade, Martin, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, and Union correctional institutions.

“So, the auditors chose the facilities based on criteria such as the number and nature of use of force incidents, the inmate population size, the geographical location, the predominant custody level, and also where they are in the state,” said DOC spokesman McKinley Lewis.

Lewis says the audit by the Association of State Correctional Administrators found that the agency’s use of force policies are in line with the nationwide standards.

“The team also noted that they found no systemic or widespread noncompliance in following the department’s use of force policies and that all planned use of force events at the facilities were well documented from start to finish,” added Lewis.

The audit did note that DOC should monitor correctional officers who felt the policies coddled inmates. It also noted correctional staff up for a promotion avoid getting assigned to high pressure jobs, recommended some facilities go toward 8 hour shifts instead of 12 hour shifts, and said contraband control was weak at several of its institutions. It also noted the lack of medical and mental health providers and recommended DOC cancel those contracts and go back to the drawing board, which Lewis says the prison agency is already looking into. Lewis adds the agency is already working on putting up more digital cameras as well as hiring more staff.

Another prison audit is currently in the works via Governor Rick Scott's Executive Order in July.

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.