June 30, 2017
FDC Bolsters Mental Health Services to Increase Safety,
Improve Treatment in Institutions Statewide
FDC to provide pay raise for officers with mental health certification
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, following historic support from Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature during the 2017 Legislative Session, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) announced its plan to implement major mental health care reforms across Florida’s correctional institutions. Between 2010 and 2016, while the total inmate population has decreased, FDC experienced a 51 percent increase in the percentage of all mentally ill inmates with the most severe and persistent mental disorders.
Secretary Julie Jones said, “Since my appointment I have worked with the Governor and the Legislature to make meaningful improvements to our state’s correctional institutions - with a specific focus on the mental health population in our custody. With this support we have achieved significant mental health accomplishments, and I was proud to have Governor Scott sign into law this year a pay raise for correctional officers who earn the American Correctional Association Correctional Behavioral Health Certification. Ensuring these inmates are given appropriate clinical services is critical to the safe operation of our institutions.
“We have seen a significant increase of mentally ill inmates in our custody. As we look toward the future of our Department, we must continue to focus on providing the treatment and services integral to the rehabilitation of those with behavioral health needs. I want to thank Governor Scott for his leadership and support of mental health initiatives as FDC works to become a national leader in correctional mental health. FDC looks forward to continuing to work with the Governor and Legislature to implement data-driven reforms that ensure a return on investment for Florida taxpayers, improve outcomes for those in our custody and create a system of care that works.”
Thanks to unprecedented investments from Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature, the Department is proud to move forward with the following reforms at the start of the 2017-18 fiscal year on July 1st:
- Establish a Residential Continuum of Care at Wakulla C.I. Annex. These protective housing and augmented treatment units will be designed for inmates with serious mental impairment associated with a historical inability to successfully adjust to living in the general inmate population. Many of these inmates are currently receiving inpatient services in a Transitional Care Unit (TCU), Close Management facility, or other confinement setting. This unique treatment facility will ensure inmates with mental health issues are provided prompt and effective treatment in a rehabilitative environment.
- Mental health pay raise to officers working in mental health units. Beginning July 1, this raise will apply to Correctional Officers working in mental health units who obtain the Correctional Behavioral Health Certification, which will enhance the officers’ skill sets in dealing with a difficult inmate population and improve the safety of staff and inmate interactions.
FDC has led the nation becoming the first state in 2015 to establish a Mental Health Ombudsman program which is dedicated solely to inmates with severe mental illness. FDC was also the first in the nation to have staff complete the American Correctional Association’s Correctional Behavioral Health Certification in 2015 - the first nationally standardized behavioral-health certification in the United States. These firsts are a testament to FDC’s commitment to the mentally ill in our custody.
These reforms will continue to support the Department’s implementation of the Governor’s Executive Orders requiring the Department to focus on meaningful mental health care reforms.
For additional information, please contact the Florida Department of Corrections Communications Office at (850) 488-0420.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs 24,000 members statewide, incarcerates approximately 96,000 inmates and supervises nearly 166,000 offenders in the community.