December 14, 2015
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On Sunday, December 13, the Miami Herald published several articles, including “Bartered sex, corruption and cover-ups behind bars in nation’s largest women’s prison”, “When an inmate gets pregnant by a corrections officer”, “The assistant warden who got too close to the prisoners”, “How these prison stories were reported”, and “We’re improving security, facilities, policies at Lowell, FDC says”. These articles represent the first part of the Herald’s series on Lowell Correctional Institution, Beyond Punishment. Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones provides the following statement in response to these articles:
Secretary Julie Jones said, “As the nation’s third largest correctional system, responsible for the country’s largest women’s prison, I feel that it is our responsibility to be a national leader in implementing policy focused on the incarceration and rehabilitation of women. Since joining the Department in January, I have strived to work collaboratively with our community partners, including those who represent our state’s news organizations, to build a more accountable and progressive Department of Corrections.
“Among our many reforms implemented in the last year, I believe that our personnel and policy changes at Lowell will have a long-term effect and create safe and accountable environment for our inmates and staff. While I believe that the Herald had an obligation to the inmates behind these incidents to act quickly and immediately report new and relevant information recovered during their reporting to a law enforcement entity, this is not the course of action the paper chose to take. Nevertheless, we will thoroughly review the disturbing allegations brought forward by the Miami Herald to ensure that the appropriate action is taken against any individual bearing responsibility for misconduct. To continue in our efforts to be accountable to the people of Florida, we will provide relevant updates as we progress with this review.”
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 23,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.