Security and Institutional Management
Eighty-three percent of the inmates in DC
institutions and facilities in Florida on the last day
of the fiscal year (June 30, 1997) worked, participated
in programs such as vocational or academic classes, or
a combination of work and programs. The remaining 17
percent were either physically unable to work, were
going through the reception and orientation process or
were in some type of confinement for management
purposes, including death row. Inmate labor is used to
construct new correctional facilities, and support and
maintain the ongoing operation of correctional
institutions. Inmates also cook, help maintain prison
grounds, farm and garden, participate in sanitation and
recycling processes, and work for PRIDE (Prison
Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises)
and PIE (Prison Industry Enhancement) programs.
Additionally, inmates are assigned to the department's
Community Work Squad program, which is described in
more detail below, along with some of the other types
of work Florida prison inmates participated in during
FY 96-97, and how much it saved Florida taxpayers.
Community Work Squad Program
There are two types of Community Work Squads: those that work under an agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and those who work under a local agreement between correctional institutions and other state agencies such as the Division of Forestry, cities, counties, municipalities and non-profit corporations. The latter are called Public Works/Interagency Community Service Work Squads.
The DOT Inmate Work Squads, working under the supervision of staff from both the DC and DOT, performed more than 1.9 million hours of work valued at $12.9 million in FY 96-97. These squads performed all types of roadway and right-of-way work to help maintain the state's highway system. They also assisted the DOT following natural disasters such as hurricanes and severe storms that created extensive damage to several areas in the state.
The Public Works/Interagency Community Service Work Squads are authorized by F.S. 946.40. During FY 96-97, these inmate work squads performed over 3.5 million hours of free labor at a value of $29.9 million dollars (valued at $8.31 per hour*). The types of work performed by these squads include roadway and right-of-way work for cities and counties, grounds and building maintenance, mowing, litter removal, painting, construction projects, structure repair, office moving and cleaning up our state forests. These work squads also assisted both state and local governments in cleaning up after natural disasters.
The total value added/cost savings generated by the
Community Work Squad Program for FY 96-97 was $42.8
million. Total program costs were $19.3 million,
resulting in net value added/cost savings to Florida
taxpayers in the amount of $23.5 million.
New Construction, Renovation and Repair
Inmates spent more than 3.5 million hours performing work in new construction, correction of fire safety deficiencies, and repairs and renovations during FY 96-97. Major construction projects were conducted at 25 major institutions and almost every other institution had some construction occurring. The value of this labor is estimated at $30.9 million based on a benefited hourly wage valued at $8.71 per hour.*
*The base hourly value is determined
from the Wage Summary Report for Employment Services
Job Openings for FY 96-97, prepared by the Department
of Labor and Employment Security, with benefits for
social security, retirement, health and basic life
The "N" Team
The "N" (Neighborhood) Team is a group of inmates
from the St. Petersburg Community Correctional Center
who have joined forces with the city of St. Petersburg
to assist homeowners and neighborhoods with bringing
their properties into compliance with coding standards.
Referrals are received from the code compliance
investigators who have cited the homeowners for
violations, but are aware that they can not make the
repairs due to income, age or disability. The team not
only repairs neglected homes, but is also available for
immediate action in the neighborhoods to perform
projects such as neighborhood cleanup, alley and vacant
lot cleanup, and assisting police with emergency
Farm and Gardening Programs
During FY 96-97, 66 facilities participated in the
farming and gardening program. This program involves
the cultivation of approximately 436 acres. Inmates
prepare the soil, plant seeds, hoe weeds and harvest
and process the vegetables. This year, inmates
produced about 3.4 million pounds of vegetables and
worked over 534,000 hours in the program.
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Community Work Squads throughout the state are being
used to perform services for the Division of Driver
Licenses offices and Florida Highway Patrol stations.
The services performed include ground maintenance and
general maintenance such as painting, carpentry and
roofing. About 49 Department of Highway Safety and
Motor Vehicles facilities received services in FY
Farm Share is a non-profit organization dedicated to
feeding the needy. This organization recovers fresh
vegetables and fruits that would otherwise be
discarded. They collect, process, store and distribute
produce on a daily basis. Inmates from Dade CI
assigned to this project assist with cleaning, sorting,
packing and distributing the goods.
The department has established an aquaculture program
at Hendry CI to raise and harvest freshwater fish for
consumption by inmates. Additionally, the inmates
assist with maintaining the aquaculture equipment.
Inmates harvested 1,553 pounds of catfish and 4,289
pounds of tilapia this fiscal year with a value of
Non-Native Tree Eradication Project
|Dogged Trackers -- The Department of Corrections raises bloodhounds at many facilities. These dogs are trained to track escaped inmates, and the DC routinely volunteers their services to assist local law enforcement agencies in tracking criminals, lost children, etc.|
The department has established a partnership with South Florida Water Management District and Florida Gulf Coast University to provide inmate labor to assist with the removal of melaleuca trees. Melaleuca, a hardwood species native to Australia, has become established as an invasive pest in wetland areas of South Florida. This non-native plant threatens natural ecosystems by overrunning and crowding out native plants. Inmates from Everglades CI are assisting with the removal of melaleuca, Brazilian pepper and Australian pine along the canal banks and rights-of-way in South Florida. The work squad from Fort Myers Community Correctional Center cut and remove the exotic plants from the university's property. The department is currently pursuing an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand this project to some areas around Lake Okeechobee.
Building Dog Kennels
The DC has entered into a Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE) program with PRIDE to use inmate labor to assemble dog kennel kits, which will be sold in retail outlets. The wages received by inmates will be used primarily to pay subsistence fees, the state's Crime Compensation Trust Fund, court-ordered fines and costs, and for family support.