Inmate Infections, Deaths Soar Amid Pleas For More Help

Aug 14, 2020
prison bars
Emiliano Bar

As the numbers of COVID-19 deaths and infections in prisons soar, workers, inmates and their loved ones continue to plead for help from the state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday the Florida Department of Corrections, which is part of his administration, will continue to test and isolate symptomatic inmates. But he did not outline any other measures under consideration to prevent infections among inmates and staff members.

Marion County Jail Nurse Dies From COVID-19

Aug 10, 2020
Heart of Florida

A nurse who worked for more than 12 years at the Marion County Jail has died from COVID-19.

Charles “Dan” Manrique, 71, died on Saturday. He was the night charge nurse at the jail.

Florida Police Benevolent Association

In Florida prisons, more than 12,000 inmates and 2,000 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus. At least 59 inmates and two staff members have died.

Jimmy Baiardi, Corrections director with the Florida Police Benevolent Association, says that state prisons have become a difficult workplace for corrections officers.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is allowing jail employees who continue to test positive for coronavirus to return to work after a set time, under a new policy based on updated federal guidelines for health care professionals. 

At least 11 inmates at a South Florida correctional facility have died of COVID-19-related illnesses, as the death toll in the state prison system continues to climb.

A Florida Department of Health report shows that 11 inmates at the South Florida Reception Center in Miami-Dade County have died from the contagious respiratory disease.

For the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, correctional officer Kareen "Troy" Troitino says things were "pretty relaxed" at FCI Miami. There were no cases of COVID-19 at the low-security federal prison, which currently houses some 1,000 inmates.

That all changed, he says, early last month. "And then on the week of the Fourth of July, we had one case, and then it just spread in one week. I mean, tremendously. It's like wildfire. And you don't even see the fire because you don't know who has it until it's too late."

State Prisons Chief, Top Aide Test Positive For Coronavirus

Aug 3, 2020

As COVID-19 spreads throughout the state’s prison system, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch and one of his top lieutenants have tested positive for the virus, the state agency announced late Friday night.

prison bars
Emiliano Bar

Pointing to effects of the coronavirus pandemic, a state panel released a report this past week showing a large drop in inmates in Florida’s prison system.

Lowell Correctional Institute sign outside facility
Google Maps

The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday said a dozen inmates died from complications of COVID-19 at eight prisons within the past week. 

Dade Correctional Institution, Everglades Correctional Institution, Lowell Correctional Institution and South Florida Reception Center each had two inmates die after testing positive for the disease. Columbia Correctional Institution, Florida Women’s Reception Center, Graceville Correctional Institution and Wakulla Correctional Institution each had an inmate death. 

Surge In Florida Inmate COVID-19 Cases Spurs Calls For Help

Jul 23, 2020
prison bars

Inside a sweltering prison in rural North Florida, the mass testing of hundreds of inmates began nearly two weeks ago on a Saturday, as corrections workers tried to sort and quarantine prisoners with symptoms of COVID-19.

jail bars in a hallway at a prison

The number of Florida corrections workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 surpassed 1,000 on Friday, according to the state Department of Corrections. 

“They are dying in the heat,” said the distraught mother of an inmate at Dade Correctional Institution in Miami. “What have we done to deserve this. … How is it possible, knowing how hot it is here?”

jail bars in a hallway at a prison

Florida’s prison system recorded 443 new coronavirus cases and an inmate death over the holiday weekend, according to figures released Monday by the state Department of Corrections.

Two More Inmates Die Of COVID-19

Jun 28, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida skyrockets, Department of Corrections officials reported Friday that two more state inmates have died of complications from the novel coronavirus.

The recent deaths bring the toll of inmate fatalities in Florida’s prison system to 23.

Prisons across the country have placed prisoners on lockdown — they're kept in their cells mostly around-the-clock — as a way to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Now prison reformers are worried that the response has increased the use of a practice they've long fought: solitary confinement.

Officials at the Pinellas County Jail are dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19.

According to a statement from the Sheriff's Office, 13 staff members and five inmates have tested positive within the last few days.

News Service of Florida

With a potential $28 million price tag looming, a federal appeals court on Wednesday heard arguments in a long-running dispute about whether Florida is providing proper treatment to prisoners with hepatitis C.

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 has agreed to move quickly in deciding a case about whether Florida should be required to provide expensive treatment to prison inmates who have been diagnosed with early stages of hepatitis C.

barbed wire prison fence

The number of state inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, surpassed 1,400 on Tuesday, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

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.

COVID-19, Testing Soar In Florida's Prisons

May 13, 2020
barbed wire prison fence

Eight Florida prisons are hot spots for COVID-19, with the number of inmates testing positive for the highly contagious disease continuing to soar even as the state loosens restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.

The number of inmates in Miami-Dade County jails who have tested positive for COVID-19 has exploded in recent days.

Prisoners crowding around a table
Florida Department of Corrections

Florida Department of Corrections officials on Monday said 119 inmates and 84 corrections workers have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

With COVID-19 cases now showing up in the Florida prison system, both inmates and correctional staff are at risk. A prominent Florida clemency attorney thinks there are ways to reduce the most vulnerable prison population quickly.

Updated at 9:58 a.m. ET

Federal prisons are wrestling with the rapid spread of the coronavirus at more than two dozen facilities across the country in an outbreak that has already claimed the lives of at least seven inmates and infected almost 200 more, as well as 63 staff.

One of the hardest-hit so far is the Federal Correctional Complex in Oakdale, La., located about a three-hour drive west of New Orleans. It's home to two low-security prisons and a minimum security camp, which all told house some 2,000 inmates.

11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
News Service of Florida

Arguing that the state has shown “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs,” inmates are urging a federal appeals court to uphold a ruling that requires the Florida Department of Corrections to provide costly treatment to prisoners who have been diagnosed with the early stages of hepatitis C.

Palm Beach County is eliminating solitary confinement for juveniles in adult jails.

The change comes after Palm Beach County's Sheriff's Office reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit that alleged the practice violated the civil rights of it’s youngest inmates. 

The School District of Palm Beach was also mentioned in the lawsuit. 

The county’s sheriff office did not respond to WLRN’s requests for comment.

Florida prisons are seeing an increasing number of inmate deaths that authorities blame on a synthetic marijuana substance known as K2, or spice.

The increase in overdoses has prompted state officials to launch an educational campaign intended to show inmates the dangers of using the substance. The campaign was first reported by WLRN's news partner the Miami Herald.

Prison Agency Asks Judge To Reject Hepatitis Arguments

Jun 2, 2017
André Luiz D. Takahashi (Wikimedia Commons)

The Florida Department of Corrections this week asked a federal judge to reject arguments that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing “cutting edge” drugs to prisoners with hepatitis C.

2 Prison Guards Charged In Chemical Spraying Case

May 23, 2017
Liberty Correctional Institution

Two Northwest Florida correctional officers face charges after authorities said an inmate was sprayed with a chemical agent and placed in a supply closet.