June 15, 2017
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TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) applauds Governor Rick Scott’s signing and the Florida Legislature’s unanimous passage of the Department’s legislative policy package for the 2017 Regular Session.
Secretary Julie Jones said, “The Department is committed to collectively strengthening the tools that support and provide oversight for our daily operations. These bills not only streamline existing procedures, but include a number of provisions that improve standards of accountability, enhance operational efficiencies and increase educational achievement award opportunities for inmates to be better prepared when they re-enter their communities. We thank Governor Scott, Senator Bracy, Senator Brandes, Representative Gonzalez and Representative Altman for their leadership and support of these public safety bills throughout the legislative process, and we look forward to putting them into action.”
The legislation passed aligns with the Department’s mission to provide services that better meet the needs of those in the agency’s care while contributing to the safety of our institutions and communities. Toward this goal, the Department routinely reviews agency practices to find new ways to support this commitment to staff and inmates. The legislation also builds upon the Department’s focus to increase educational opportunities, by increasing incentive gain time for eligible inmates who receive specified educational achievements.
The passage of House Bill 7091 strengthens Chapter 948, Florida Statutes, and improves public safety by addressing the recent court decision in Mobley v. State, 197 So.3d 572 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016). The legislation now allows technical supervision violations to be held in a tolled status and allows the court to retain jurisdiction.
HB 1201, HB 1203 and HB 7091 will take effect on July 1, 2017, except as otherwise expressly stated within the bills.
In addition to the passage of this important legislative policy, Governor Scott signed SB 7022 providing an increase in the base pay for correctional officers, addressing the Department’s most significant need to improve staff recruitment and retention. SB 7022 also provides a hiring bonus at high vacancy institutions and a ten percent increase in pay for officers who work in the 10-inpatient mental health housing units.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 24,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 97,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.