January 28, 2021
Contact: FDC Communications
Governor Ron DeSantis’ Florida Leads Budget Recommendations Blaze Positive Path for Public Safety and Corrections
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis released his budget recommendations for the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC), continuing his administration’s steadfast resolve to fund critical public safety priorities.
“Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature put public safety at the forefront of the state’s priorities. Last year, with their support and investment, we embarked on a multi-year effort to address Florida’s corrections system,” said Secretary Mark Inch. “Governor DeSantis’ budget recommendations continue to set us on a positive trajectory as we strategically work to improve our system. His demonstrated support recognizes our needs and the critical public safety role we provide for Floridians. We look forward to working with the Legislature to continue progress on our near-term objectives.”
Governor DeSantis’ FDC Budget Recommendations Include:
8.5-Hour Shift Program to Create Safer Conditions, $26.1 Million and 330 FTE: The Department will continue its three-year 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.
Targeted Retention Incentives to Improve Staffing, $5 Million: To continue addressing exceptionally high turnover rates, this recommendation follows last year’s targeted retention pay step plan. The priority will provide a $1,000 retention increase for officers reaching five years of service between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021; a $1,000 retention increase for employees reaching two years between Oct 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021; and $500 for new hires between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021. The plan will incentivize experienced certified staff to continue their public service career with FDC.
Staffing to Support Statutory Changes, $4.6 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/SB 7066 (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. 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. This will increase the number of certified correctional officers working in correctional institutions, making institutions safer and reducing officer attrition.
Security Threat Group (STG) Sergeants, $461,000 and 7 FTE: Continuing to add dedicated STG sergeants to correctional institutions, these positions allow FDC to better manage STG members (gangs), disrupt criminal networks, improve staffing levels and increase safety and security within the prison system. Since the implementation of dedicated STG positions funded last year, staff have been able to identify, and document critical incidents related to this growing, violent population. With these dedicated positions, previously special assigned positions were able to be returned to their assigned shifts, thereby reducing vacancies.
Security Enhancement Equipment, $2 Million: This recommendation targets the purchase of equipment such as perimeter cameras, netting systems for throw overs, metal detectors, radios, location tracking systems, intercoms for mental health units, cell phone detectors, drone detection systems, ID verification systems, warehouse x-ray inspection systems, perimeter motion lights, rapid ID for visitors, narcotics canines and grounds maintenance equipment.
Career and Technical Services Education Expansion, $1 Million: This recommendation will 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.
Academic Education Expansion, $461,000 and 7 FTE: Additional funding is required to meet the academic needs of the current inmate population and increase academic instruction. This recommendation expands academic programs statewide. Personnel reduction in past years resulted in major institutions without adequate teaching staff to administer programming, testing and literacy programs. For every literacy grade level increase by an inmate their likelihood to return to prison decreases by 4%.
Health Care Contract Monitoring, 5 FTE: This recommendation will allow for additional resources to effectively monitor the provision 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.
Facility Maintenance and Repairs, $14 Million: Major repair and renovations are necessary for facilities statewide, including roof replacements, electrical repairs and necessary renovations for ADA compliance. 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.
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.
Replacement of Critical Transport Vehicles, $1 Million: FDC is responsible for the movement of thousands of inmates in the state’s custody and care. Currently, 61% of FDC vans used for critical inmate transportation meet or exceed the DMS eligibility standards for disposal because the vans are 12 years old or older. This recommendation enables FDC to bring a portion of the Department’s aged fleet up to DMS standards.
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.
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