TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s prisons are so “chronically understaffed” for even the most basic daily routines that an emergency should be declared to keep corrections officers and inmates safe, an independent audit commissioned by the Florida Department of Corrections has concluded.
The lack of staff costs the state millions in overtime costs, encourages vacancies, falls below national standards and exposes Florida taxpayers to increased costs if a murder, riot or escape were to occur at any of the state prisons, the report by the National Institute of Corrections concludes.
The solution “will require a significant commitment of attention and resources and the fortitude to make tough decisions,” the report notes.
The department’s response: We know.
“Since January, the secretary has been saying this over and over again,” said agency spokesman McKinley Lewis, noting that Corrections Secretary Julie Jones asked for and received $17.5 million to hire 300 additional employees.