Correctional Officer Sgt. Christopher Michael Jernigan, 37, and Correctional Officer Donald Dwight Sims, Jr., 21, were arrested for brutalizing an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution, the latest in a series of guard arrests in the troubled Florida Department of Corrections.
florida department of corrections
Ronald McCoy, an inmate with a very violent past who was serving two life terms on armed robbery convictions at a prison in Miami-Dade County, remains at large after his escape on Oct. 31.
On Wednesday, five prison guards were arrested for allegedly stomping on a handcuffed and shackled inmate at the Northwest Florida Reception Center last month. A sixth — a captain — was also charged with taking part in the attack and lying about it.
In a brief filed Monday, lawyers for the Department of Corrections argued that the law allows Florida to scrap the kosher meals because of the financial burden placed on the “cash-strapped agency.” The state has spent more than $200,000 on the lawsuit so far.
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.
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.
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.
Costing Florida taxpayers $1.4 billion a year, Florida’s prisons have some of the highest incarceration rates in the nation, too, even though the state still has the nation’s ninth highest violent crime rate, suggesting a poor return on investment.
The challenge to Department of Juvenile Justice rules is part of a string of related legal disputes involving at least 10 counties over how much of the detention tab counties should pay. The case may have repercussions across the state.
Declining prison admissions created a surplus of prison beds, allowing the state prison system to cut its budget deficit by closing our older facilities, says Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker.