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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Press Release
October 12, 2016
For More Information
Contact: Communications
(850) 488-0420

POLITICO Publishes Accusations of Private Vendor, Ignores Data and Budget Facts

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:

Security Operations $39.78
Health Services $10.62
Education $  1.26

*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.


  • Florida Department Corrections (FDC) currently spends 60% of its substance abuse treatment dollars on the smallest and least likely population to return to prison.  This equates to $15.5 m for approx. 688 treatment beds. 
  • In contrast, FDC spends only $10.9 m for approx. 2,539 in-prison treatment beds for an inmate population of nearly 99,000.  
  • Expanding substance abuse treatment at all levels of incarceration allows FDC to treat the greatest number of inmates who are at the highest risk to reoffend.
  • In-prison treatment has much higher completion rates at ¼ the cost.
  • FDC can treat four times as many individuals for the same amount of money.
  • Inmates who completed in-prison treatment for substance abuse, followed by placement in paid employment at a community release center, returned to prison at a rate of five percent during a three-year follow-up period. Inmates who completed treatment for substance abuse at the Orlando Bridges transition program, followed by paid employment through a community release center, returned to prison at double the rate (ten percent during the same three year follow-up period).
  • The new Orange County Request for Proposal (RFP) increases paid employment beds.
  • The new Orange County RFP that Bridges of America (BOA) is protesting/litigating, seeks to contract for services that assist inmates in locating paid employment that aligns with the workforce training they receive in prison.
  • The new Orange County RFP seeks contracted services that provide cognitive behavior programming that assists the inmate with “correct thinking,” within a therapeutic and transitional community environment.
  • The new Orange County RFP allows the inmate to keep more of their earned money, helping them pay restitution to victims and be debt-free upon release. Under this new RFP inmates will keep approximately 70% of their wages, whereas, BOA currently only allows inmates to keep 45% of their wages.
  • Under the new re-entry model, individuals will successfully complete substance abuse treatment and academic or workforce training based upon job trends in their intended area of release, then transfer to a paid employment bed in the community. 
  • No one in the current Orlando Bridge program will be sent “back” to prison.  All individuals currently serving their sentence in community transition beds will remain in community programs. 
  • All current transition bed participants at Orlando Bridge will either be released by contract term (December 31, 2016) or they will transfer to a community paid employment bed with outpatient substance abuse treatment.
  • Programs and contracted services have begun changing statewide in support of the Department’s evidence driven re-entry model. 


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.

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