October 16, 2014
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By: Adam Kreger
Published October 15, 2014
For the entire story, visit: Charlotte Sun article from 10/15
Due to an increase in use-of-force incidents at state prisons, the Florida Department of Corrections has requested an independent audit of its policies and procedures.
The steps were announced this week on the heels of the department finalizing its annual report for fiscal year 2013-14, which wrapped up at the end of September. Though the report is still being reviewed before being made public, the department acknowledged there was a jump in the number of use-of-force incidents throughout the 49 state correctional facilities.
But while the amount of use-of-force incidents climbed statewide, the prison in Punta Gorda actually had about a 10 percent drop in such incidents. Charlotte Correctional Institution had 226 incidents in 2012-13 compared to only 202 in 2013-14, according to data provided to the Sun…
The Association of State Corrections Administrators — a national organization of correctional leaders, managed by the Criminal Justice Institute — will conduct site visits, inspections and evaluations on use-of-force methods to conduct the Department of Corrections’ requested “full independent audit,” and a report of findings will be made public, according to a press release about the pending audit.
“Secretary (Mike) Crews is discussing a plan of action with ASCA, and working on a timeline for ASCA to review and audit the department,” spokesman McKinley Lewis told the Sun. “At this time, no dates have been scheduled in regard to site visits.”
Crews said in a prepared statement for the media: “I look forward to having an independent party review our policies to ensure the Department is taking every step possible to improve our facilities, educate our staff and protect our inmates... An agency-wide review of policies and procedures by the ASCA will help identify any remaining or connected issues and reinforce our zero-tolerance policy for misconduct and commitment to continued improvement for the department.”
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.