March 5, 2016
| For More Information
Please see the statement below from Secretary Julie Jones:
“Each and every day, more than 16,000 correctional officers put their lives on the line to keep Florida’s institutions and communities safe. Our decision to transition back to 8-hour shifts is one based in data and research, as well as in the recommendations of three separate and independent audits. We strongly believe that our request for 734 additional FTE is an operational imperative that will increase both safety and security in our institutions. Since the implementation of 12-hour shifts the Department has observed significant increases in several areas that have contributed to increased risk within our facilities.
Sick leave hours taken by officers have climbed by more than 900 hours a year even as the Department took significant cuts in FTE.
Staff overtime has risen dramatically from $11m to more than $36m.
Referrals to the Employee Assistance Program for staff have increased from 1,096 to nearly 1,500.
The occurrence of violent incidents has increased since the 12-hour shift implementation. Inmate-on-inmate assaults rose from 2,331 to 3,409. Similarly, inmate-on-staff assaults rose from 749 to 793.
Contraband recovery has hit record highs, jumping from 8,012 items recovered to more than 10,300 items recovered.
The Department has spent the last year implementing new policy and making needed improvements to our infrastructure. Centralization of staff, process improvement and budget realignment has made a dramatic difference in the Department’s ability to operate efficiently at all levels. While there has been concern over the Department’s vacancies, we believe that our request for 734 additional positions is a calculated resolution to this issue. With the return to 8-hour shifts, the Department will reduce overtime and fill positions we’ve held vacant to feed our current overtime expenses. As we move through the final stages of our state’s budget process, I hope that our lawmakers recognize the progress the Department has made since their investment last year. I ask that our leaders place their trust in our agency and build upon the good work that has been accomplished since last session.”
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 24,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.