October 12, 2016
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – POLITICO’s recent reporting on the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) falsely accuses the Department with providing misleading budget information and data. In response to an expiring contract, that had no available to extension options, FDC was required to rebid the contract and issued a request for proposal (RFP) inviting vendors in Orange County to continue partnering with the Department. The RFP was designed to further FDC’s modernized evidence-driven re-entry model.
Every action FDC takes is to serve Florida’s most challenging population and improve officer safety and well-being. Unfortunately, misleading information continues to be supplied by a private vendor protesting the Department’s decision to act in the best interest of inmates and offenders in Florida.
FDC will not tailor contracts to private vendors in order to protect a vendor’s profit margins.
The Department’s obligation is to those entrusted in our care and the taxpayers of Florida who provide funding for these services.
CLAIM: Data, depositions show DOC misled in justifying changes in drug-abuse treatment for inmates
FACT: The Department is in active litigation with Bridges of America. To suggest the deposition shows misleading information, prior to the judge making a ruling, is inaccurate and demeans the legal process. Data provided to POLITICO provides ample justification for the Department’s decision. Unfortunately, they chose to ignore it. For reference, data is included below.
CLAIM: When asked about the fact that the "substance use disorder" budget was sourced from multiple parts of the state budget, DOC spokeswoman provided no explanation as to why the DOC claims the money is all under one budget under which money can be moved freely.
FACT: This is false. FDC worked diligently to provide POLITICO with data, internal documents, and made the Chief Financial Officer and Budget Director available for an interview.
CLAIM: A POLITICO Florida analysis of the costs found that, based on DOC data, the estimated cost per inmate per day to the department for drug abuse treatment in state-run prisons would be roughly the same, if not more expensive, than what it is currently paying for prisoners to get drug treatment at a Bridges facility in Orlando, or $52.78.
FACT: This is false. POLITICO relied solely on the budget analysis supplied by the private vendor that is challenging the Department’s decision to reshape services that provide significant cost savings and allows FDC to treat more individuals.
CLAIM: The average operational cost per inmate per day to the DOC for state-run facilities was $39.78 in fiscal year 2014-15, according to the DOC's annual report. If one were to add the cost of in-prison substance abuse treatment ($13) plus $3.34 in administrative costs (also listed in the annual report), one would arrive at an estimate of $56.12.
FACT: This is not accurate. The $13 a day figure referenced is a contract rate. The education per diem, which includes substance abuse treatment when necessary (as well as other educational programming) is $1.26 and is already included in the institutional per diem rate referenced by the vendor.
The Department of Corrections FY 2014-2015 average operating per diem for all facilities (excluding private facilities) is:
*As an average each facility has a unique operating per diem based on its mission, with some institutions having significantly lower per diem.
Administrative per diem of $3.34 is the Department cost of providing services such as budget, personnel, legal, finance and accounting, etc. This per diem is not part of the operating per diem.
Further, the Department’s per diem includes health services. When an inmate needs health services while residing in a Bridges facility, that cost is absorbed by the Department, on top of the contracted rate of $52 a day.
CLAIM: A source with significant Florida budget experience explained that under state law, agency heads are allowed to move small amounts of money in their budgets under certain circumstances... Otherwise, the agency has to seek additional approval from lawmakers. …Though the budget lines the department would be moving between appear "at least similar in purpose,” a source inside the Florida House stated, “if rubber met the road, they probably don’t have the authority” to transfer the money without approval from lawmakers.
FACT: Both the Orange County RFP and Statewide ITN for substance abuse services were issued to address contacts that are expiring and are required to be competitively procured.
These services will be paid from existing funding. The Department has not, and will not, act outside of its Legislative spending authority.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs 24,000 members statewide, incarcerates approximately 99,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.