prison privatization

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones meets with inmates at the Wakulla Correctional Institution, March 8, 2016.
Florida Department of Corrections facebook

The state budget officially went into effect earlier this month. That includes Florida’s prison budget, which led to prison officials cutting funding to programs helpful to inmates trying to transition back into society. While some blame the Florida legislature, others want to stop playing the blame game and move forward. In the first installment of her series, WFSU's Sascha Cordner digs into what led up to this point.

Centurion of Florida

The initial transition is going well so far for the private provider chosen to take over the health care services for most of Florida’s prison system, and there’s more to come. That’s according to Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones.

Florida Channel

The Florida Department of Corrections is moving forward with finding new private prison health care providers to run those services in the coming months. That’s after the state’s main prison health care provider recently terminated its contract with the state.

As a private prison health provider’s contract with the state draws to an end, some wonder how Corizon’s cancellation of the contract will impact Florida inmates as well as employees.

Some are hailing a decision by the main private provider charged with the health care of Florida’s inmates to terminate its contract with the state.

Senator Greg Ever's twitter

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.

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?


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.

Florida Channel

A panel of Florida lawmakers moved several bills forward Wednesday attempting to address certain hot-button issues within the state’s criminal justice system from juvenile sentencing to unintended consequences of firing a warning shot. They also confirmed the appointment of Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews, who also gave Senators an update on the prison system.

DOC Secretary Talks Budget Deficit, Prison Health Care Privatization

Florida Channel

The privatization of prison health care services in Florida is expected to be fully implemented by mid-October. The effort, projected to save the department millions of dollars, caused thousands of employees to lose their state jobs.

Speaking before a Senate Criminal Justice budget panel Wednesday, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews said the privatization effort is almost done. There’s only one facility left that needs to privatize its prison health care services.

A Florida appeals court has reversed a lower court decision, and has given the Florida Department of Corrections the go-ahead to privatize prison health care services throughout the state. But, one union representing thousands of employees who don’t want to lose their state jobs says the fight may not be over.

Last December, a Circuit Judge essentially backed American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, one of the unions that filed the health care privatization challenge.

Ryan Benk / WFSU-FM

It could take weeks before a Florida appeals court decides whether to allow the Florida Department of Corrections to move forward with privatizing the prison health care services in several Florida regions. It’s all part of a continuing legal battle between the department and unions representing employees who fear they’ll lose their state jobs.

Ryan Benk / WFSU-FM

A three-judge panel heard arguments Tuesday in a legal dispute between the Florida Department of Corrections and its prison health care workers who fear losing their state jobs. It’s the latest after a lower court ruled the department could only privatize prison health care in one region of the state, but must leave two other regions alone.

The Florida Department of Corrections is aiming to further reduce its budget deficit of $95 million with the help of Governor Rick Scott. But, Scott’s recommendation won’t be enough to cover the department’s entire budget hole. So, the department has started looking at cost saving measures in hopes of reaching one of its main goals.

“What we want to do is when we get to June 30th, our goal is to be at zero,” said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews.

Florida Department of Corrections

The Florida Department of Corrections has a new Secretary, but he’s not new to the agency. It’s the department’s Second-In-Command Mike Crews, who was recently appointed to his new role by Governor Rick Scott. But, as the third Secretary in less than two years, Crews faces several challenges in leading the nation’s third largest prison system.

As the state continues its battle to privatize the state’s prison health care services, some employees, who are still in limbo, may now have to reapply for their state benefits. About a thousand Florida Department of Corrections employees, who thought their positions would be taken over by a private company, may have prematurely canceled their insurance coverage.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Florida Governor Rick Scott named a new person to head the state’s prison system Monday. Florida Department of Corrections Deputy Secretary Mike Crews has moved up to lead the agency, making him the third chief under Scott in less than two years.

With about 30 years of state corrections and law enforcement experience, Crews says he hopes to bring stability and consistency to the department.

The Florida Department of Corrections is preparing to file an appeal, after a Judge ruled privatizing most of the health care services in Florida’s prisons, illegal. The department says the state would face a massive budget deficit, if it complies with the decision. But, some say the department should stop fighting the ruling because of the thousands of prison health care workers unsure about their jobs.

Updated 5:28 p.m.

The Florida Department of Corrections has announced it is appealing the Judge's ruling. Below is a statement from the department's Deputy Secretary Mike Crews:

Capital Report: Legislative Reorganization

Nov 30, 2012

A new report from the LeRoy Collins Institute and government watchdog group Integrity Florida shows several counties have adopted ethics policies that are stricter than required by state law. As Jessica Palombo reports, the research could help local and state governments come up with more uniform ethics guidelines.

****UPDATE: Judge has Ruled. Read Story HERE****

The jobs of about the three-thousand correctional employees’ jobs hang in the balance as a Leon Circuit Judge decides whether the state can privatize its prison health care services. The judge must rule on whether a Legislative Budget panel overstepped its authority by approving the plan, even after several attempts to privatize had been struck down by the courts.

A Leon Circuit Judge is now set to decide on a case regarding the privatization of health care services in Florida’s prison system. The Judge says he expects to make his decision soon to determine whether a legislative budget panel overstepped when it gave the Florida Department of Corrections the go-ahead on the privatization effort.

A legal dispute over the privatization of health care services in Florida’s prisons is far from over. A Leon Circuit Judge says he does not have all the information he needs to make a ruling yet. But, his ultimate decision will not only affect thousands of public employees in jeopardy of losing their jobs, it could also become a precedent in deciding what kind of authority a Florida legislative budget panel has in making future budgetary decisions.

Capital Report: Legislative Reorganization

Nov 26, 2012
The Florida Capitol Building with Capitol Report logo
Diligent Terrier

The 2012 Florida election results are official after the state certified them on Tuesday. After some election-night snags and tight races that kept supervisors counting even past the deadline, Jessica Palombo reports, many Florida officials and lawmakers are calling for elections reforms.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

The Florida Department of Corrections is still engaged in a legal dispute over whether it can privatize the state’s inmate health care services, after a Legislative budget panel gave them permission. But, the unions, who filed the challenge, say it’s not only illegal, it’s unfair to the thousands of public employees who will lose their jobs. A Leon County Circuit Judge heard arguments Monday, and says he won’t rule until he gets more information from all the parties involved.