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Roof Repairs, Fixing Understaffing Among Priorities In Prison Budget, But No Pay Raises

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Florida Department of Corrections

Governor Rick Scott wants the state legislature to approve more than $80 million to help Florida’s prison system, and the state’s prison chief says it’s needed.

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones says most of the money she’s asking for goes toward maintenance repair. That’s expected to cost $36 million.

“The fixed capital outlay needs for this year: 140 roofs,” said Jones, speaking recently to reporters. “I’m looking at stabilizing the infrastructure because we know if we fix the roof, that stops the degradation and the mold and the leaking and everything to save the actual structure and we can do maintenance crews on that.”

In the past, funds for officer salaries have gone toward those type of repairs, leaving positions unfilled. And, Jones says another $28 million goes toward helping with the understaffed correctional facilities, though her budget recommendation does not include pay raises.

“In my officer surveys…the officer surveys told me that having someone to back them up, to get the staffing right was more important than a raise,” added Jones. “That was very clear.”

The rest is for improving upon inmate health care and replacing inmate transport vehicles.

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.