State's Largest Work Release Center Closes

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Associated Press Release

LARGO, Fla. (AP) -- The Department of Corrections has closed the state's largest work release center for inmates.

The inmates were moved early Friday out of the Largo Center run by Goodwill Industries.

The closing came after an investigation by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

In an email sent to the media on Friday, Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews said that his agency has terminated its contract with Goodwill. The emailed cited a "real and immediate threat to public safety" as the reason for closing the center.

There have been several violations at the center, including inaccurate inmate counts and, an escaped inmate was undetected for more than three hours.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri sent deputies to observe the center for 11 days earlier this month after repeated complaints from nearby residents.

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