Department of Corrections

Florida Prisons Don’t Track Inmate Overdoses Despite Contraband Problems

Oct 11, 2019

Florida’s prison system, the third largest in the nation, has long faced issues with contraband drugs, yet the state agency that grapples with the problems does not track the number of inmates treated for overdoses.

Prison Hepatitis Legal Fight Continues

May 23, 2019
The state may have to pay millions of dollars more in treatment costs for inmates infected with hepatitis C.
Florida Department of Corrections

After admitting they failed to adequately screen prisoners for the highly contagious disease, Florida corrections officials are challenging a federal judge’s order that found the agency was “deliberately indifferent” to inmates infected with hepatitis C. 

Attorneys for a transgender inmate and the Florida Department of Corrections are battling in a federal appeals court about whether the state’s treatment of the inmate violated her constitutional rights.

DeSantis Names Secretaries Of Corrections, DCF

Jan 4, 2019

Filling top jobs at two of the most-scrutinized agencies in state government, incoming Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday appointed new secretaries of the Florida Department of Corrections and the Florida Department of Children and Families.

DeSantis named Mark Inch, a retired U.S. Army major general who also worked as director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, to serve as secretary of the Department of Corrections.

Prisoners crowding around a table
Florida Department of Corrections

As a candidate, Gov. Rick Scott pitched the idea of having private companies provide health care to the state's prisoners in a plan to save taxpayers $1 billion over seven years. But in the first five years of privatization, the cost has climbed from $278 million to $375 million.

Lawsuit Targets Prison System Over Hepatitis Care

May 12, 2017
Associated Press

Three inmates filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday alleging that the Florida Department of Corrections is failing to provide proper care to thousands of prisoners diagnosed with hepatitis C.

State Wants To Keep Feds Out Of Prison Disability Case

Jan 31, 2017
Florida prison
Associated Press

The Florida Department of Corrections has asked a judge to block the U.S. Department of Justice from intervening in a year-old lawsuit alleging that the state's prison system has violated the rights of inmates with disabilities.

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones has landed in the Legislature’s cross hairs for plans to close a prison rehabilitation program in Broward County to open up more office space.

Prison Health Changes Begin Taking Effect

Apr 18, 2016
Florida prison
Associated Press

A new prison health contractor started moving into nine North Florida facilities over the weekend, an initial step toward providing care for more than 80,000 inmates, the state Department of Corrections said Friday.

Florida Prisons Plan To Hire More Than 4,000 People

Apr 4, 2016
Florida prison
Associated Press

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

Lawmakers Turn Down Prison Staffing Request

Mar 7, 2016
Florida prison
Associated Press

A deal on the state's public-safety budget that lawmakers reached late Friday would not give the Department of Corrections the 734 additional positions that the agency says are necessary to make Florida's prisons more secure.

AHCA, DCF Leaders Get Senate Panel’s Blessing

Feb 17, 2016
Agency for Health Care Administration

A Senate committee signed off Tuesday on the confirmation of seven agency heads, including leaders of some of the state's highest-profile departments.

State Brings On New Prison Health Provider

Feb 2, 2016
Florida prison
Associated Press

State corrections officials have hired Centurion of Florida LLC to take over prison health services for more than three-fourths of Florida's 100,000 inmates after Corizon Health walked away from a five-year, $1.2 billion contract three years early.

State Looking For Prison Health Answers

Dec 2, 2015
Associated Press

Florida prisons chief Julie Jones is considering hiring temp agencies to fill in the gap after Corizon Health officials decided to walk away from the largest prison health-care contract in the country.

Former Prison Guard Arrested For Beating Up Inmate

Sep 22, 2015

A former Suwannee Correctional Institution prison guard was arrested Saturday after being accused of beating up a prisoner and lying about it.

Prison System, Contractor Accused Of Denying Inmate Surgeries

Sep 21, 2015
Florida Department of Corrections

Lawyers for Florida inmates have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Corrections and prison health-care provider Corizon, alleging that the state agency and the company are denying hernia operations to save money.

Gov. Rick Scott ordered changes at the Department of Corrections last Friday to address prison beatings and corruption after the Legislature went home without doing the same.

The Legislature was working on bills to address problems after a series of reports detailed deaths, cover-ups and corruption in the prison system. But the bills died when the Florida House went home three days early over a budget impasse and a dispute with the Senate over health care coverage for the poor.

A panel of Florida lawmakers grilled the head of Florida’s troubled prison system, before unanimously confirming her during a Senate hearing Thursday.

The Florida Channel

A Florida judge is throwing out a lawsuit that challenged a new confidentiality policy ordered by the state’s prison chief.

The Miami Herald reports that a Tallahassee judge Tuesday dismissed the lawsuit that contended the policy violated state law.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of employees of the troubled Department of Corrections. They asserted the policy ordered by Secretary Julie Jones was to prevent state legislators and others from asking about ongoing scandals.

Judge Tosses Out Prison Whistleblower Case

Mar 5, 2015
Florida Department of Corrections

  A federal judge Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by five Department of Corrections investigators who claimed they were retaliated against for exposing a cover-up involving the death of an inmate at a Panhandle prison in 2010.

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

The former head of Florida’s prisons is blasting Gov. Rick Scott and his administration, saying they put politics ahead of guard and prisoner safety.

Mike Crews, who resigned in November as Department of Corrections head, told the Miami Herald in an interview published Sunday that Scott’s aides were worried last year that deaths and other problems at the prisons would hurt the governor’s re-election chances and wanted him to blame employees who weren’t at fault. He says he refused.

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.

Florida prison officials said Friday that they're hiring an ombudsman to oversee the treatment of mentally ill inmates in the wake of widespread abuse allegations and cover-ups.

Between 15 and 20 percent of Florida's 100,000 prisoners have been diagnosed with a mental health condition that requires treatment. The ombudsman will work with about 1,000 inmates with severe mental illness who are admitted to inpatient units. Secretary Mike Crews said the agency also is beefing up crisis intervention training to help guards working with mentally ill prisoners.

Florida Inspectors General Office

A widening scandal focusing on the treatment of Florida prison inmates includes new allegations that Gov. Rick Scott's own top watchdog was warned about the possible cover-up of two suspicious prison deaths but did not do anything.

The Miami Herald reported Friday that the governor's chief inspector general received an anonymous letter in Oct. 2012 that included details about prisoners who had died while in state custody.

The winner of a $1.2 billion contract to provide health care to Florida’s prison inmates is being accused of failing to treat patients properly, the News Service of Florida reports. The Department of Corrections says the Missouri-based company Corizon must fix 80 percent of the problems identified in recent audits, or payment will be withheld, according to the News Service.

The discovery of three more inmate bodies in prisons over the recent holiday weekend brings the total of suspicious in-custody deaths under investigation to 10, The Miami Herald reports. Florida Department of Law Enforcement is handling nine of them, and the FBI is looking into the other one, the Herald confirmed.

It took five letters, including one from a law firm, for Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown to gain an interview with an inmate who has crucial inside information on the death of a mentally ill inmate at Dade Correctional Institution two years ago.

Convicted killer Mark Joiner, now at a state prison in Lake City, told Brown that DCI guards routinely tortured and even killed inmates, then bragged about it. They also bragged that nothing would happen to them, he said.

The Florida Department of Corrections has agreed to turn over the investigation of  unattended deaths and serious injuries in the state’s prisons to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Miami Herald reports.

The Florida Supreme Court has delayed an execution amid questions over the drug the state is now using in lethal injections, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Florida began using midazolam hydrochloride when the state Department of Corrections used up its supply of pentobarbital, and is the only state to use the new drug. The court’s ruling has delayed the scheduled execution of Thomas Knight; he’s been on death row since 1975.