FL lags big states on vaccinations; DeSantis pledges doses for high-risk younger people (but not inmates)

BY: - February 1, 2021

Florida trails other large states in getting its supply of COVID-19 vaccine into people’s arms, having administered 59 percent of the nearly 3.4 million doses the federal government has sent this way, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By contrast, Michigan had administered nearly 74 percent of […]

Inmate infections spike at state prisons; feds report first case among U.S. prisons in FL

BY: - April 10, 2020

Update: Hours after publishing this report, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons reported that a second federal facility in Florida has at least one employee infected with COVID-19. The first was Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Sumter County. The second is a Federal Detention Center in Miami, holding 1,023 inmates arrested but not convicted who could […]

COVID-19 is forcing big changes for Floridians and their rights, but is all of this strictly legal?

BY: and - April 8, 2020

In trying to maintain public safety in a COVID-19 world, Florida’s state and local governments have directed people to stay at home, closed businesses, established checkpoints against out-of-state travelers, even arrested a church pastor. That these orders may infringe upon civil liberties seems a realistic danger. Especially disadvantaged are prison inmates close to proving they […]

Virus expands in FL state prison system, with employees, inmates infected; U.S. prison infections rising

BY: - April 7, 2020

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida’s state-run prisons and probation offices rose to 41 on Tuesday, up from 12 in just one week. There were 37 confirmed infections among employees at 17 corrections facilities and three regional probation offices. In addition, four inmates tested positive, all at the privately run Blackwater Correctional Facility in Santa […]

Ballooning overtime pay in FL prisons: One of the myriad problems facing the state’s corrections crisis

BY: - October 22, 2019

Last year Florida paid $77 million in overtime to staff its state prisons, an exploding price tag stemming from the inability to hire and keep correctional officers at the state’s Department of Corrections. Why is this happening? The problem begins with starting salaries of just $33,500. That works out to about $16 an hour — […]

Florida House bill would allow inmates more time off for good behavior

BY: - September 19, 2019

A proposal intended to relieve stress on Florida’s correctional officers, save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, and encourage good behavior by inmates has been filed in the Florida House of Representatives by two Democrats. The legislation, sponsored by Dianne Hart of Tampa and Minority Leader Kionne McGhee of Cutler Bay, would retroactively drop the […]

Some FL legislators are visiting inside state prisons, and they report disturbing conditions

BY: - July 16, 2019

(Warning to readers that the linked video contains violence.) Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch said his Inspector General is investigating a “deeply disturbing” video posted on YouTube over the weekend that shows a group of corrections officers brutally beating a prisoner at Lake Correctional Institution outside Orlando. Inmates captured the clandestine video, reportedly […]

Medicaid expansion could save FL $200 million a year, but will politicians go for it? And what does the public want?

BY: - July 5, 2019

What if Florida had a way to save money on the prison health-care crisis? Or expand treatment programs for opioid addiction or provide more mental-health services? Or increase health-care services for the poor and disabled? Would state leaders shun that opportunity or embrace it? Given recent history, it is likely that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis […]

Jailing the mentally ill: Attorney General Moody looks for solutions

BY: - July 3, 2019

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody tells a story about the intersection of mental illness and law enforcement. It involves someone experiencing a mental breakdown in the middle of a busy street, “clearly causing chaos,” she says. “Traffic was tied up. The officer can’t leave them there. If they have no other choice but to arrest […]

State Capitol

It may seem like Monopoly money, but Florida’s state budget is a serious exercise

BY: - March 22, 2019

As the Florida House and Senate prepare to pass their initial state budget plans, there turns out to be a surprise big spender. It’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, the state’s rookie chief executive. DeSantis is backing a $91.3 billion budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which begins July 1. That’s roughly $1 billion higher than the […]

Florida sends too many juveniles to adult prisons. It’s no place for a child, advocates say

BY: - March 15, 2019

Taylor Lawrance will celebrate her 19th birthday Saturday at the Florida Women’s Reception Center in Marion County. As inmate H48955, she will mark her next five birthdays in a women’s prison, where she has been serving a 10-year sentence since she was convicted as a 15-year-old of participating in a home robbery in Polk County […]