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Florida Prison System Sued Following Information Request About The Coronavirus and Inmates

More than 1,000 Florida inmates have died from COVID-19.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The Florida Department of Corrections is facing a lawsuit for failing to release information on how it’s handling the COVID-19 outbreak in prisons. More than 1,000 Florida inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus, seven have died.

The Southern Poverty Law Center wants to know how the Florida Department of Corrections prepared for the COVID-19 outbreak, and what it’s doing now to prevent the virus from spreading. While some data on that has been released, the Center says it’s too vague.

In late March, the Southern Poverty Law Center sent out two public records requests seeking information about “plans policies and procedures” related to the virus. That includes how the Florida Department of Corrections is screening people, how it’s educating inmates and staff about the coronavirus, and how it’s caring for those who have been exposed or infected by it. After almost two months of not getting that data, The Southern Poverty Law Center argues the Florida Department of Corrections is violating the state’s open-public records law by not replying in a timely way.

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Robbie Gaffney is a recent graduate from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.