FDC Upholds Unwavering Commitment to Florida’s Public Safety Mission in 2023

December 28, 2023
Contact: FDC Communications

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) highlighted accomplishments from 2023, a year dedicated to bolstering and maintaining Florida’s critical public safety mission.

"I am immensely proud of our collective achievements over the past year. Our unprecedented success is a testament to the unwavering dedication of our incredible staff,” said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Ricky Dixon. "We are truly grateful to have such bold leadership in Governor DeSantis, who recognizes that investing in corrections is, at its core, an investment in public safety. As we look forward to 2024, we remain committed to continuous improvement and ensuring that our journey towards excellence only gains momentum."

Enhanced Recruitment and Targeted Retention Efforts

  • With the support of Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, the starting salary for all correctional officers and correctional probation officers increased to $22 per hour. A significant step to greatly enhance staff recruitment and retention, ensuring safety and security for Florida’s communities.
  • Instituted a hiring and retention bonus of $5,000 to correctional officers at 15 high-vacancy institutions. This bonus applied to certified correctional officers, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains who continuously work at any of the identified locations.
  • Increased the starting salary for teachers, chaplains, classification officers, and inspectors.
  • Extended a retention plan, applying it to officers who have completed two, five, or eight years of service. On reaching these milestones, officers receive a base pay increase, which can go up to a maximum of $2,500.

Expanded Education Opportunities for Inmates

  • Increased the State-Operated Inmate Welfare Trust Fund's revenues from $2.5 million to $32 million, leading to improved resources to combat inmate idleness and enhance public safety.
  • Received an additional 215 educational positions and funding to modernize correctional education system technology to improve academic, career, and technical education.
  • Awarded and helped inmates earn over 1,500 GEDs and 100 college degrees.

Established First Female Services Administrator

  • Appointed the first-ever statewide Female Services Administrator. This position works collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to address policy, procedure and practice impacting the four female correctional institutions and five female community release centers. This position will also work to cultivate innovative ideas and process improvements for incarcerated women.

Invested in Inmate and Offender Rehabilitation and Restoration

  • Organized pre-release hiring events statewide, leading to immediate employment for over 1,400 former inmates upon release.
  • Collaborated with Florida Foundation for Correctional Excellence, a program established at Lowell Correctional Institution to train female inmates as heavy equipment operators. FFCE funded state-of-the-art CAT® simulators that provide virtual training on heavy equipment machinery.
  • Facilitated over 130 re-entry seminars across all facilities, connecting soon-to-be released inmates with community resources.

Ensured Public Safety and Offender Compliance in Florida’s Communities

  • Conducted over $1.2 million contacts with offenders on supervision in the community including 175,000 residential searches, 40,000 curfew compliance checks and 9,500 residential searches.
  • Collected more than $50 million in court ordered payments, including $30 million in restitution, fines, and court costs.
  • Tracked more than 570,000 hours of court ordered community service work by offenders on probation.
  • Provided Fentanyl drug tests to community corrections field offices, helping probation officers identify and counter the deadly epidemic.

Recognized as National Leaders in Correctional Excellence

  • Awarded the 2023 President’s Award by the American Probation and Parole Association, the highest honor in Community Corrections, for its innovative initiatives.
  • Received national reaccreditation at 19 correctional institutions from ACA. These facilities have met all mandatory standards with 100 percent compliance and have exceeded 98 percent compliance for non-mandatory standards.
  • Achieved a perfect score of 100 percent in all mandatory and non-mandatory standards during the American Correctional Association (ACA) reaccreditation for the Office of Community Corrections for for the Office of Community Corrections for the third consecutive time.