Florida prisons

As the virus continues to spread within the state prison system, COVID-19 has caused the deaths of 18 inmates as of Friday.
Florida Department of Corrections

The number of COVID-19 cases among Florida prisoners has surpassed 1,600, state corrections officials reported Friday. 

The inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, are concentrated in 13 prisons in various parts of the state. 

With 301 inmate cases, Homestead Correctional Institution has the highest number of cases in the state. Liberty Correctional Institution in Bristol has 212 cases and Hamilton Correctional Institution in Jasper has 205 inmate cases. 

barbed wire prison fence
WMFE

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday the state has not had a “huge spread” of COVID-19 in the prison system, even as corrections officials reported 120 more cases among inmates and a ninth prison with an outbreak.

barbed wire prison fence
WMFE

Approximately 2,300 corrections workers have had to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to potential exposure to COVID-19, Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch said Tuesday.

The number of coronavirus cases reported in Liberty County jumped from just 8 to 60 overnight between Sunday and Monday. The majority of those cases stem from staff and prisoners at the Liberty Correctional Institution.

barbed wire prison fence
WMFE

A group that pushes for changes in the criminal-justice system urged Florida Corrections Secretary Mark Inch on Wednesday to expand COVID-19 testing of inmates, noting that nearly half of the prisoners tested are found to be positive for the respiratory illness.

barbed wire prison fence
WMFE

The number of Florida inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 jumped to 113 on Sunday, more than doubling the tally of infections among prisoners over three days, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Corrections.

TALLAHASSEE --- A private prison company that operates a Northwest Florida facility where four inmates have died of COVID-19 unexpectedly released detailed information Thursday night about the medical attention prisoners have received amid the pandemic.

After state agencies repeatedly refused to answer questions about inmate deaths, The Geo Group Inc. disclosed information about inmate hospitalizations, fatalities and quarantines at Blackwater River Correctional Facility in Santa Rosa County.

barbed wire prison fence
WMFE

A third Florida prisoner has died as a result of COVID-19, state corrections officials said Thursday. The Florida Department of Corrections did not release the name of the facility where the inmate was housed.

Five More Coronavirus Cases In State Prison System

Apr 9, 2020
Prisoners crowding around a table
Florida Department of Corrections

The Florida Department of Corrections announced Wednesday that a Central Florida inmate and four prison workers tested positive for COVID-19, as the number of cases continues to increase in the state prison system.

barbed wire prison fence
WMFE

Thirty-seven corrections workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Florida Department of Corrections said Tuesday.

This post will be updated today, Wednesday, April 8, with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

barbed wire prison fence
WMFE

Florida prisons have temporarily stopped accepting new inmates, a move aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus in state correctional facilities but that shifts the burden of housing offenders to local officials.

Hillsborough County is releasing inmates as it prepares for the coronavirus. Sheriff Chad Chronister said the order applies to 164 people charged with minor offenses who cannot make bail.

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

A federal appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments in June in a dispute about whether Florida’s prison system is providing proper care to inmates with hepatitis C, as lawmakers prepare for the possibility of facing hefty treatment costs.

Most Florida Prison Deaths Occur From Natural Causes, Overdoses

Oct 24, 2019

The state has launched more than 900 investigations into deaths in Florida prisons over a five-year span, with causes ranging from overdoses to homicides, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement official said Wednesday.

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.

Florida's prisons have a health care problem.

The state's aging prison population and the high cost of treating inmates with debilitating diseases are behind a surge in spending on health care in recent years.


Florida prison officials say they’re looking to enhance the mental health treatment of inmates—particularly in the Panhandle. But, they need to hire more than 100 employees to meet that goal. Kim Banks is the Chief Financial Officer for the Florida Department of Corrections.

Lawmakers Turn Down Prison Staffing Request

Mar 7, 2016
Prison corridor with inmates in distance
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.

Meredith Geddings

More veterans could soon be able to access an alternative court system. Prisons are often called Florida’s largest mental health system – as many as 125,000 adults with mental illness or substance abuse disorders are booked into Florida jails each year.

Florida Prisons Sued Over Treatment Of Disabled Inmates

Jan 27, 2016
Prison corridor with inmates in distance
Associated Press

A group representing disabled inmates has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Florida prison officials of discriminating against prisoners who are deaf, blind or confined to wheelchairs, in violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The head of the Florida Department of Corrections says she’s asking the legislature for more funds to hire more correctional officers to help with the understaffing problem. And, Governor Rick Scott says he’s backing her amended legislative request.

barbed wire prison fence
WMFE

What has changed at a North Central Florida prison since life threatening conditions were found?

Health care at the Florida Women’s Reception Center in Ocala was found to be life threatening, according to an audit. Health Reporter Abe Aboraya broke the story about the audit and spoke with Morning Edition Host Renata Sago.

Florida Department of Corrections

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the death in a scalding shower of a Florida prisoner and may conduct a broader civil rights probe into allegations of abuse of mentally ill inmates.

Existence of the criminal investigation into the 2012 death of Darren Rainey, 50, was confirmed in a recent Justice Department letter to the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which last year requested the probe.

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.