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Prisons and Jails
Category archives for: Prisons and Jails

Replacing Salisbury Steak With Sardines, Florida Prisons’ Kosher Option Raises Hackles

| April 11, 2014

Inmates contend that the peanut butter, sardines and cabbage served up daily by the Florida Department of Corrections are designed to discourage them from signing up for the kosher meals or to punish inmates if they do, and that the chow is far from what a federal judge had in mind last year when she ordered the state to start serving kosher meals to inmates.

Life Without Parole for Juveniles: Florida Struggles to Comply With Supreme Court Ruling

| March 6, 2014

Florida sentences more juveniles to life in prison without parole than any other state, but the pressure is on the Legislature this year to comply with restrictive U.S. Supreme Court rulings because without sentencing guidelines, the Florida judiciary is filling the gap one case at a time.

Rarely Punished, Guards May Be Responsible for Half of Sexual Assaults in Prisons and Jails

| January 25, 2014

The federal report is based on data from all of the nation’s federal and state prisons as well as many county jails. It shows more than 8,000 reports of abuse each year between 2009 and 2011, up 11 percent from the previous report, and extremely rare prosecutions.

FDLE Arrests 4 in Two Convicted Murderers’ Escape Scheme, But Unanswered Questions Remain

| December 19, 2013

The escapes of Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins deeply embarrassed the Department of Corrections and raised grave questions about the state’s security measures, down to the office of the Orange County Clerk of Court, where the forged paperwork landed on desks that cleared the way to free the inmates on bogus reduced sentences.

Florida Sentencing Guidelines

| December 10, 2013

Overview of Florida’s sentencing policies, guidelines, first, second and third degree felonies, life sentences.

William Styffe, 33, Suspected Bank Robber, Is Dead 7 Weeks After Suicide Attempt in Jail

| November 14, 2013

William Carl Styffe, who was accused of trying to rob Hancock Bank in Palm Coast and robbing a Sun Trust Bank in Ormond Beach on Aug. 30, then a Compass Bank in St. Johns County a few days later, died over the weekend subsequent to injuries he sustained during a suicide attempt at the Volusia County Branch Jail on Sept. 18.

FDLE Unsure How 2 Escaped Murderers Forged Papers, Duping Prison and Court System

| October 22, 2013

FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said Tuesday several suspects have been “targeted” for helping two murderers escape from prison with forged court papers mailed to a clerk of court, but the embarrassing incident is still largely unexplained.

Flagler’s Public Safety Council Endorses Court-Ordering Ex-Felons to Evangelical Recovery House

| October 10, 2013

The council—a collection of local police, court and other government agencies—provided the endorsement sight unseen and legalities untested, and based exclusively on a brief presentation by Charles Silano, the local pastor. Open Door Re-Entry and Recovery Ministry will be run out of a former church on Booe Street in Bunnell.

Florida Prisoners Will Wash Dishes and Sew Their Own Clothes in Bid to Save Money

| September 26, 2013

Florida’s prisons have a $45.5 million deficit despite shuttering 10 prisons in recent years, so department head Mike Crews is finding new ways to save money, including refusing to replace broken dishwashers and making inmates do the work instead.

Banned in Flagler, Welcomed in Prisons: Corrections Reverses Cigarette Prohibition in Work Camps

| September 13, 2013

Corrections officials quietly reversed a blanket ban on tobacco at prisons this summer and are now allowing inmates at work release centers to have up to 10 packs of cigarettes each–just as Flagler County readies to ban smoking among new employees.

In a Surprising Shift, County Commission Finds Money for 2 Jail-Diversion Programs After All

| September 5, 2013

Flagler County commissioners Thursday evening agreed to take on a $100,000 mental-health jail diversion program previously paid for by the state, and a $60,000 pre-trial release program they had opposed in earlier workshops. Both shifts took place during a hearing devoted to approving next year’s tax property rate.

Nickel and Diming County Foregoes Program That Would Have Reduced Jail Population

| August 13, 2013

The Flagler County judge and sheriff had supported a proposed pre-trial release program that would have kept low-grade, non-violent offenders out of jail, saving them money in the short term and the county money in the long term, but the county commission eliminated the proposal as part of a $400,000 cut from next year’s budget proposal.

Eric Holder Takes on the “War on Drugs,” Mandatory Sentences and Epidemic Imprisonment Rates

| August 12, 2013

Attorney general Eric Holder on Monday delivered a seminal speech outlining a plan to revamp federal drug policy and incarceration rates of non-violent and elderly offenders, and urging Congress to review mandatory sentencing in light of a “war on drugs” that has not worked. The full speech.

Booked at Orlando Prison, Paul Miller Files Appeal of Conviction on Flagler Beach Murder

| July 2, 2013

Paul Miller, sentenced in June to life in prison for the murder of Dana Mulhall in Flagler Beach last year, will be at Orlando’s Central Florida Reception System prison for a few weeks before being transferred to a permanent prison, though family proximity does not necessarily decide where the system will place him.

Planning for Flagler’s Future, County Talks Library Repairs, New Fire Station and Jail

| May 31, 2013

Expanding an overcrowded county jail, building a modern new sheriff’s operations center, upgrading an inadequate drainage system as urbanization changes the rural character of Flagler and improving fire and emergency medical response west of U.S. 1 were featured in the first of four strategic-planning sessions by the county commission Thursday.

Juvenile Detention Cost-Shifting Arguments in Appeals Court, With Implications for Counties

| May 15, 2013

Counties argue they currently pick up 75 percent of some juvenile detention costs, but should be paying less. The state claims in in court filings that the Legislature actually intended for the counties to cover 89 percent of the costs.Either way, local governments are groaning under the burden.

Duping Court Ruling, Florida Replacing Life Juvenile Sentencing With 50-Year Minimum

| April 17, 2013

Legislation aimed at putting Florida in line with a U.S. Supreme Court ban on automatic life sentences for juvenile murderers cleared a House panel Tuesday, but with a 50 year minimum sentence that opponents say may keep the state’s law at odds with the court’s aim.

Exonerated Death Row Inmates Tell Flagler Beach Group of an Enduring Florida Injustice

| March 23, 2013

In turns moving, startling and informative, a day-long workshop on the death penalty in Flagler Beach, featuring two exonerated men, urged an assembly of 60 to more actively get involved in a movement to abolish capital punishment in Florida.

Responding to ACLU, Manfre Restores His Own More Permissive Jail Mail Policy

| March 15, 2013

Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre has rescinded a policy that for the last two years, under Sheriff Don Fleming, prohibited inmates at the county jail from receiving letters at all, or writing letters longer than two pages.

Beyond Sheriff Joe’s Tactics: Looking at Prison Reform in Florida With Fresh Eyes

| March 14, 2013

Analyzing Florida’s prisons and jails is a revelation of unsustainable incarceration rates and prison-building, argues Milissa Holland, who explores more logical alternatives to end the vicious cycle of punishment and recidivism.

Florida Posts 32% Drop in Youth Lock-Up Rate Since 1997, In Line With U.S. Numbers

| February 28, 2013

The peak nationally came in 1995, with 107,637 juveniles incarcerated on a single day, and dropped to 70,792 on a single day in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. During that time, the overall incarceration rate dropped by 41 percent.

ACLU Sues Sheriff Manfre Over Jail Policy Restricting Incoming Mail to Postcards

| February 21, 2013

Beginning in January 2011 under Sheriff Don Fleming, inmates at the Flagler County jail have been forbidden from receiving mail other than small postcards, or from writing letters longer than two pages. Judges have generally not endorsed the restrictions, which also apply to inmates awaiting trial, who are presumed innocent.

Three-Year Effort to Abolish Death Penalty in Florida Fails in 9-4 Justice Committee Vote

| February 8, 2013

The rare vote to kill a bill in committee, rather than just bottling it up never to be heard, gave death penalty opponents their first chance to extensively argue for a repeal, following several years in which the measure’s sponsor, Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, has been unable to persuade Republican leaders to put the bill before a committee.

Gulag Glimmers: Fewer Florida Ex-Felons Re-Offending after Prison, Freeing Beds

| February 5, 2013

The percentage of inmates who commit another crime within three years of release has dropped from 33 percent for those freed as of 2003 to 27.6 percent for those freed as of 2008, reducing the total number of inmates admitted.

Bad News for Counties: Juvenile Detention Costs Would More Heavily Burden Locals

| January 25, 2013

Florida’s Juvenile Justice Department, in a case involving 14 local governments and the Florida Association of Counties, filed an order rejecting arguments that its interpretation of the law has improperly shifted extra costs to counties.

After Abuse at Girls’ Lock-Up, Promises of More Oversight from Florida’s Juvenile Justice

| January 19, 2013

In the wake of allegations of abuse by staffers at a girls’ lockup in Milton, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is tightening its oversight of private residential facilities – adding interviews with youths and a partnership with the non-profit Annie E. Casey Foundation to its monitoring procedures.

Abuse of Girls at Milton Detention Facility Exposes Flaws in Florida’s Juvenile Justice

| December 18, 2012

The Florida juvenile prison for girls got a 100 percent satisfactory rating from the state a year ago, though two staffers have been accused of abusing girls there, and one was caught on video.

Civil Citations for Non-Violent Offenses Can Reduce Jail Needs, Court Costs, and Undue Arrests

| December 10, 2012

Even with no criminal intent, we can easily be caught breaking a law. Until now, law enforcement officers in Florida have had only two choices in these circumstances: let you go or arrest you. Civil citations are the smarter alternative, argues Mark Flynn, CEO of the Florida Smart Justice Alliance.

In Juvenile Detention for Girls, Health Care Is Shoddy, Absent or Geared Only to Boys

| November 30, 2012

Incarcerated girls are “one of the most vulnerable and unfortunately invisible populations in the country,” and up to 90 percent have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, yet the health care provided to children, and girls in particular, in juvenile detention is often ill-equipped to deal with their complex health needs.

Do Prisoners Have a Constitutional Right to Dental Floss?

| November 16, 2012

In Florida, five inmates have separately sued Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw in federal court, claiming deprivation of federally protected civil rights through the denial of dental floss. The sheriff is denying it to them. Angel Castillo argues the sheriff is wrong.

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