As a result of declining prison admissions and excess bed space, the Florida Department of Corrections has announced it will be closing seven prisons and four work/forestry camps by July 1, 2012, as part of a statewide consolidation plan.
According to a department release issued this morning, no inmates will be released early as a result of this decision, and there will remain adequate bed space to accommodate projected prison admissions, which have steadily decreased since FY 2007-08.
The department reported the prisons being closed are Broward Correctional Institution (CI) in Ft. Lauderdale, Demilly CI in Polk City, Gainesville CI in Alachua County, Hillsborough CI in Riverview near Tampa, Indian River CI in Vero Beach, Jefferson CI in Monticello and New River CI (both units) in Raiford. In addition, River Junction Work Camp in Chattahoochee, Caryville Work Camp near Northwest Florida Reception Center in Washington County, Hendry Work Camp in Immokalee, and Levy Forestry Camp near Lowell CI in Ocala will also be closed.
"Declining prison admissions has led to a surplus of prison beds, allowing us to pare down our budget shortfall by consolidating and closing our older, less efficient facilities. We are committed to placing as many affected staff as possible in vacant positions for which they are qualified," said Secretary Ken Tucker in the prepared statement.
Inmates will be relocated to institutions with vacancies that meet their custody, profile, health, education and risk assessment needs, according to the department.
To determine which prisons and facilities would be affected, Tucker assembled an internal workgroup of subject matter experts, who developed criteria for evaluating facilities based on several factors including: facility mission, cost per inmate, maintenance and construction costs, community and employee impact, inmate labor squads, security, education and programs, and volunteers. These criteria were vetted through a variety of public and private sector entities. The department employed quantitative measures to create an institutional scoring sheet to objectively measure the pros and cons for each institution.
- Florida Department of Corrections