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Feds Poised to Investigate Prison Deaths

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The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

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.

This isn’t the first time the federal government is investigating Florida’s prison system, the Herald reports. Federal courts oversaw the system for more than two decades, after an inmate sued in the 1970s over healthcare.

The Herald reports while the now-retired Department of Corrections Secretary promised reforms in the wake of the series, reports few of the promised reforms have done anything to improve transparency of accountability. The paper continues to get tips from former inmates and their families about abuse and deaths in Florida’s prisons.

The paper also reports that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has asked the Legislature for an additional $8.4 million to investigate inmate deaths.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.