inmate deaths

Prosecutors in Miami-Dade County said that they found no evidence of a crime in the death of a prison inmate who was left for two hours in a hot shower.

Florida Prisons Plan To Hire More Than 4,000 People

Apr 4, 2016
Associated Press

Florida's prison agency says it is planning to hire more than 4,000 new correctional officers in the next 15 months.

A north Florida correctional officer is facing charges of assaulting an inmate with a chemical agent and lying about it. He was arrested Tuesday and fired from the state’s prison agency.

After recently issuing an Executive Order reforming Florida’s prisons, proponents of prison reform are weighing in on Governor Rick Scott’s order.  Still, some lawmakers say prison reform bills could still be in the works for 2016.

Governor Rick Scott has issued an executive order seeking to reform Florida’s troubled prison system, after the legislation died over a budget impasse between the House and Senate.

Florida Department of Corrections

Saying that they no longer have trust in Florida’s prison system, some legislators are pushing ahead with a sweeping proposal that would strip Gov. Rick Scott of complete control of the system while creating an independent commission that could investigate future allegations of corruption or problems.

The Florida Senate appears ready to approve the far-reaching bill, but so far Republicans in control of the House appear reluctant to go that far in shaking up the agency that has come under fire for suspicious inmate deaths and poor conditions.

A panel of Florida lawmakers is continuing a discussion into reforming the state’s troubled prison system by hearing testimony about widespread corruption and abuse within the prison walls.

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.

Prison Health Contracts to be Rebid

Feb 23, 2015
The Florida Channel

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones announced Friday she intends to rebid contracts worth about $1.4 billion with private companies to provide health-care services to the state's 100,000 inmates.

Jones's announcement came amid increased scrutiny of Florida's prison system, the third-largest in the country, after reports of guards abusing inmates, a rising number of unexplained inmate deaths and lawsuits from investigators who claim they were retaliated against after exposing wrongdoing.

The Florida Channel

An attempt by Florida's new prisons chief to keep investigators from discussing what's going on inside the state's troubled prison system has sparked a lawsuit.

An attorney representing six Corrections Department employees asked a judge this week to block a new confidentiality policy ordered by Secretary Julie Jones.

Florida Department of Corrections

 Private health firms did not provide the Florida Department of Corrections multiple reports on inmate deaths, or provided the information in part or after deadlines, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The contractors, Corizon Inc. and Wexford Health Sources, were cited in 33 different reviews of inmate deaths, the Post reports. Corizon oversees health care for about 75,000 of the state’s 100,000 inmates.

A panel of Senators got a series of updates on Florida’s troubled prison system, including the status of use-of-force incidences within the correctional facilities and the inmate health care.

During her presentation to the Senate Criminal justice Committee, newly named Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones detailed some areas she says need improvement.

Six months after the Miami Herald started investigating suspicious deaths of inmates -- and as the Florida prison system continues its path to become the deadliest year on record -- the U.S. Department of Justice is poised to start an investigation of its own into the third-largest prison system in the country.

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 Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews says “it's unfair that the agency as a whole is painted under the same umbrella of all being corrupt and non-transparent,” the News Service of Florida reports. In a long interview on his leadership, Crews explains that it will take time to change a culture of fear and intimidation that’s led to the investigation of 100 suspicious inmate deaths, according to News Service.

An investigation by the state's Commission on Human Relations has found that whistleblowers at a North Florida prison faced retaliation from their bosses after revealing abuse of inmates, the News Service of Florida reports. The case reveals a re-emerging pattern by the Florida Department of Corrections of repeatedly ignoring inmate abuse and punishing workers who report it, News Service reports.

Governor Rick Scott is weighing in on the troubles surrounding the state’s prison system. The Florida Department of Corrections has been in the news lately for prison firings, allegations of inmate abuse, and the latest: threatening to cancel their contract with private inmate health care provider.

During a recent stop in Jacksonville, Scott told reporters he’s aware of the problems in the system and he says Corrections’ Secretary Mike Crews is taking care of it.

Florida’s Chief Inspector General was warned about suspicious inmate deaths in the state’s prison system two years ago, but didn’t take action, the Miami Herald reports.

Melinda Miguel, the inspector for Gov. Rick Scott, received an anonymous letter in October, 2012 graphically outlining the deaths of inmates at two prisons, the Herald reports.

Warden Details Prison Problems, Upgrades

Aug 18, 2014

New Dade Correctional Institution warden Les Odom has announced a variety of upgrades to overhaul the state prison and correct lapses in proper management.

The Miami Herald reported some of the improvements have already begun and others have been scheduled. Those include replacing the air conditioning in the area housing mentally ill inmates.

Mentally Ill Inmates a National Problem

Jul 16, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

The numbers, posted daily on the Cook County sheriff’s website, would be alarming at an urgent care clinic, let alone a jail: On a Wednesday, 36 percent of all new arrivals report having a mental illness. On a Friday, it’s 54 percent.

The warden of a South Florida prison where an inmate was left in a scalding shower until he died has been suspended, state officials said.

Jerry Commings will be on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews told a news conference on Thursday. Further sanctions against Commings and others allegedly involved in the death were also possible, he added.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

The deaths of two jail inmates -- one in Miami-Dade, the other in Tampa -- have officials investigating how the system failed to protect them.  In the first, Joaquin Cairo was arrested on a misdemeanor and booked into the psychiatric ward of the Miami-Dade jail, where his cell-made allegedly threw him against the furniture, according to the Miami Herald; Cairo died a week later during surgery. U.S.