FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2020
Contact: FDC Communications
ICYMI: Governor Ron DeSantis Signs SB 1116 and SB 1118
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 1116: Trust Funds and SB 1118: Inmate Welfare Trust Funds. The bills provide valuable resources to combat inmate idleness and improve safety within the state correctional system.
SB 1116 establishes the State-Operated Institutions Inmate Welfare Trust Fund within the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) for the benefit and welfare of inmates incarcerated in state-operated institutions. SB 1118 authorizes the deposit of up to $2.5 million for FDC to invest in areas such as literacy and education programs, vocational programs, substance abuse programs, transition and life skills training programs, visiting services, family programs, inmate chapels, libraries and wellness programs.
The establishment of the trust fund expands efforts to engage inmates in programming and activities to develop, improve and prepare them to return to their communities as productive citizens who engage in positive lifestyle habits. Inmate idleness and violence are reduced when inmates are provided with educational and vocational programming, along with the opportunity to participate in recreational and wellness activities.
SB 1116 and SB 1118 took effect on July 1, 2020. The Department of Corrections will annually compile and submit a report to the Governor and Legislature documenting the receipts and expenditures of the trust fund for the previous fiscal year.
“Following the two unanimous votes within the Florida House and Senate, we are excited that Governor DeSantis has signed this legislation into law. These bills reinstate avenues to provide innovative programming and meaningful wellness activities to Florida’s incarcerated population for their rehabilitation and restoration and have the potential to be a game changer within FDC’s correctional institutions,” said FDC Secretary Mark Inch. “Increasing productive time while incarcerated will increase re-entry success, assist with inmate idleness and increase staff and inmate safety.”
“Florida’s Department of Corrections has taken major steps to improve programming. Reinstating the inmate welfare trust fund will have far reaching implications that will improve the lives of Florida’s incarcerated as we look to provide training and resources to better prepare the men and women inside FDC to reenter society,” said Senator Jeff Brandes. “Thank you to my colleagues and Governor Desantis for supporting our plan for a safer and more productive Department of Corrections.”
“This law will incentivize positive character development for inmates that choose a responsible pathway forward - one that allows for personal contributions and successes,” said Representative Brad Drake. “By enhancing access to substance abuse treatment programs, transitional services and vocational opportunities, we can better prepare inmates for re-entry and create safer environments for officers to uphold their important public safety mission. This law does just that.”“As a prime co-sponsor, I’d like to commend Governor DeSantis for signing SB 1116 and SB 1118 and my colleagues in the Florida Legislature for passing this bipartisan legislation. These bills will allow for increased education opportunities which will decrease inmate idleness. This is a great step forward as we continue to advance positive criminal justice policies and support inmate rehabilitation,” said Representative James Bush III.
As Florida's largest state agency, and the third largest state prison system in the country, FDC employs 24,000 members, incarcerates 80,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.