Florida Prisons

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at Operation New Hope in Jacksonville.
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday that he has created a new organization to help reduce the state’s recidivism rate through increased investment in career readiness training and community re-entry programs for inmates.

Joy Kader

A former inmate has turned his life around by using art to spotlight issues in the state’s criminal justice system.

Wikimedia Commons

TALLAHASSEE — Lawyers for convicted felons filed a class-action lawsuit Monday against Florida officials, alleging that the state's process for restoring voting rights to people who have completed their sentences is arbitrary.

Prison Reform

We discuss the push to end mass incarceration in this country and reform the U.S. criminal justice system.

Annually, $80 billion is spent on taking care of the country’s 6.9 million incarcerated Americans, including the 2.2 million who are under supervision.

Wendy Tatter, a prison reform advocate, and Moliere DiManche Jr., an ex-offender, joined us in the studio to share their personal stories and take a closer look at Florida’s criminal system.

Corrections officers
Florida Department of Corrections

A deal on the state's public-safety budget that lawmakers reached late Friday would not give the Department of Corrections the 734 additional positions the agency says are necessary to make Florida's prisons more secure.

The new jobs were part of an effort by the department to have corrections officers work eight-hour shifts instead of 12-hour shifts. The department has been reeling from a series of reports about issues such as contraband smuggling and abuse of inmates.

Prison Legal News

Inmates won't be reading a newspaper banned by Florida corrections officials anytime soon, due to a decision by a Tallahassee federal judge who said the publication's advertisements pose a threat to security.

But in a ruling last week, U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker also handed a partial victory to Prison Legal News, finding that Department of Corrections officials violated the publication's constitutional due-process rights by failing to provide notification when copies of the monthly periodical were impounded.

Floridians Voice Concern About State Prison System

Aug 3, 2015
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The deaths of two inmates at Baker Correctional Institution in Sanderson, Florida last week have sparked call for reform of the state’s correctional system.

Florida has the third-largest prison system in the nation, with more than 100,000 inmates and a $2.1 billion budget.

During an appearance on WJCT's “First Coast Connect,” Criminal Justice Analyst Dale Carson and Wendy Tatter, a representative for the St. Augustine nonprofit Initiative for Compassion, talked about prison reform in Florida.

An internal investigation is underway following the deaths of two inmates at Baker Correctional Institution in Sanderson, Florida last week.

They’re just the latest inmate deaths in Florida, which have sparked calls for reform of the state’s correctional system. Florida has the third-largest prison system in the nation, with more than 100,000 inmates and a $2.1 billion budget.

Wikimedia Commons

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones plans to bar the use of chemical agents on prisoners with histories of respiratory ailments and is changing procedures to reduce the use of force on severely mentally ill inmates.

The changes to the policy regarding inmates with respiratory ailments, such as asthma, come after reports of at least two prisoners dying as a result of complications from preexisting breathing-related medical conditions. The inmates had been gassed by guards.

Patrick Denker / Flickr

Businesses could get a tax break for hiring former felons – that’s if a bill filed by Miami Democratic Senator Dwight Bullard gets approved this session. The bill would give companies hiring a convicted felon a $1,000 tax credit. The credit applies to the corporate income tax, which not all businesses have to pay, but Bullard says it’s a way for the program to get a solid foot in the door.