November 14, 2017
Gov. Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future Budget Invests in Enhanced Safety and Security in Correctional Institutions
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) today highlighted Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget, which recommends an additional $169 million, for a total of $2.6 billion, to the Department. This funding includes infrastructure investments, enhanced mental health services and programing aimed at reducing recidivism and enhancing safety in communities across the state. Recent investments in re-entry programming have helped to reduce Florida’s recidivism rate to 25.2 percent, which translates into less crime and safer neighborhoods.
Governor Rick Scott said, “The Securing Florida’s Future budget makes significant investments in enhancing security at our correctional facilities, which is crucial to protecting our families and our communities. I look forward to working with Legislature in these important investments.”
Secretary Julie Jones said, “Governor Scott’s continued commitment to funding the Department’s mental health services, infrastructure and security needs has been crucial to the safety and security of our institutions and Florida’s communities. We strive to be a national leader in corrections, and with Governor Scott’s historical support we will continue to make meaningful improvements to the services for those entrusted to our care and the security of our institutions.”
Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future Budget includes:
$68 Million for Mental Health Services Statewide –Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget provides record funding to better serve the Department’s mentally ill inmate population. This funding supports 472 additional security positions, 248 health services contract staff, 2 dedicated mental health ombudsman positions and includes $8.1 million for facility upgrades and repairs.
$10 Million for the Residential Mental Health Program at the Wakulla Correctional Institution Annex – Building on last year’s investment, Governor Scott is proposing funding to continue the development of the Residential Mental Health Program at Wakulla CI. Through this unique treatment facility designed for inmates with serious mental impairment, the Department can safely and efficiently treat inmates with unique behavioral health needs and keep them from harming themselves and others.
“Proper treatment and care are vital to a mentally ill inmate’s chances of rehabilitation. The Florida Council for Community Mental Health thanks Governor Scott and the Department of Corrections for their dedication to funding mental health priorities,” said Melanie Brown-Woofter, Interim President and CEO of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health.
$6 Million to Ensure Facilities are ADA Compliant – Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget invests funding to continue to make institutions more accessible to inmates with disabilities. This includes funding for additional facility upgrades and critical services for inmates with hearing and visions loss as well as mobility modifications to institutions throughout Florida.
$17 Million for Facility Maintenance and Repair – This year’s budget recommends $17 million for critical maintenance and repair needs in FDC’s facilities. Following two years of historic support, the funding will allow the Department to continue addressing necessary maintenance needs to maintain safe, secure facilities and ensure long-term energy and maintenance savings. FDC maintains the largest facility portfolio in the state. The Securing Florida’s Future budget recommends funding for the Department’s fixed capital outlay priorities, including the repair or replacement of roofs, outdated perimeter systems and fences, and environmental needs such as waste water treatment and sewer repairs.
$4 Million for Enhanced Workforce Education Training – Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget includes funding to expand training and educational programs and additional teaching positions at institutions across the state. Educational credentials and workforce training are critical to job placement and, ultimately, keeping offenders from returning to prison and reducing victimization in Florida’s communities. Research indicates that for every increase in grade level, recidivism decreases by 4% and education for incarcerated adults reduces the risk of post-release re-incarceration by 16%. The funding provides approximately 1,600 additional program seats.
Alan Garey, Board Director of South Florida Manufacturers Association and CEO of Decimal Engineering, said, “These services provide valuable training to inmates throughout Florida so that they can be better prepared for employment upon release. We thank Governor Scott for his continued support of this critical step in reducing recidivism.”
$2 Million for Contraband Interdiction – The budget includes increased technology to intercept dangerous contraband from entering the Department’s secure facilities. Contraband such as cell phones, illegal drugs and weapons pose a serious threat to the safety and security of FDC’s correctional institutions.
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.