TALLAHASSEE — Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature made positive investments to support the Florida Department of Corrections public safety mission during the 2020-2021 Regular Legislative Session.
“Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature continued to make public safety a top state priority during this Legislative Session,” said Secretary Mark Inch. “Investing in our agency is an investment in the safety of our communities. Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership and with the Legislature’s support, we can continue to address the recruitment and retention of our officers, improve the safety and efficiency of our operations, and expand our rehabilitation and restoration programing.”
Reduce Staff Attrition and Vacancy Rates
• 8.5-Hour Shift Program to Create Safer Conditions, $17.4 Million and 220 FTE: The Department will continue its program to convert all state correctional institutions to an 8.5-hour shift. This will be the second year of implementation, with an additional 17 institutions converting from 12- to 8.5-hour shifts. The Department has experienced numerous issues directly related to the 12-hour shifts currently in place, including increases in separations of staff, use of force incidents, contraband, and violent incidents.
• Staffing to Support Statutory Changes, $4.5 Million and 47 FTE: Transparency and accountability remain priorities for the Department, and additional inspectors and HR staff positions will reduce the average criminal and administrative investigation caseload in order to comply with recent legislative changes. In addition, the Bureau of Admissions and Release will add five positions to assist with the increased workload due to Amendment IV (Voter Restoration) requirements.
• Redesign of the Correctional Officer Basic Recruit Academy, $782,000, 10 FTE: FDC hires, onboards, and trains nearly 4,000 new correctional officers each year. In the past, new correctional officer trainees have been required to work for up to 180 calendar days prior to entering an academy due to availability of slots. This funding will allow FDC to increase training bandwidth and implement open-enrollment academies, where new officers will be placed into an academy within two weeks of hire. FDC will increase the number of certified correctional officers working in correctional institutions, making institutions safer and reducing officer attrition.
Enhance cooperation through positive choices
• Career and Technical Services Education Expansion, $1 Million: This funding will enable FDC to increase the number of vocational and industrial certificates that are earned and help inmates return to their communities with the entry-level job skills needed to productively contribute to Florida’s communities.
Maximize Efficient & Effective Healthcare
• Health Care Contract Monitoring: Five positions to allow for more effective monitoring of medical, mental health, and dental services in FDC’s southern region (Region 4), resulting in a full team of contract monitors in each region.
• Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Infrastructure, $742,000: This funding addresses increased expenses to maintain and support the total annual cost of the expanded network circuits statewide. The EMR solution was a value-added component of the health services contract.
Address aging infrastructure
• Replacement of Critical Transport Vehicles, $1 Million: FDC is responsible for the movement of thousands of inmates in the state’s custody and care. This investment will enable FDC to bring a portion of the Department’s aged fleet up to DMS standards.
• Facility Maintenance and Repairs, $15.4 Million: FDC is responsible for the repair and renovation needs of 145 facilities, which equates to more than 20 million square feet of space. Many of these facilities are aging and the physical plant systems are well past their operational life expectancy. This funding will enable major repair and renovations necessary for facilities statewide, including roof replacements, electrical repairs, necessary renovations for ADA compliance, and improvements to security systems.
• Support Facilities, $7.9 Million: Resources will be used to facilitate the construction of a laundry facility at Dade Correctional Institution, a medical facility at New River Correctional Institution, and a new maintenance facility at Union Correctional Institution.