Tallahassee, Florida --
Florida Secretary of Corrections, Edwin Buss, announced in a press release on March15th, he's going to shut down the only female faith based correctional facility in Florida. The Hillsborough Correctional Institute is set to shut its doors on Friday.
Tuesday morning, Tallahassee Attorney Dean LeBoeuf filed a complaint at the courthouse.
LeBoeuf said, "We felt like that was against Florida law, and discriminatory against women."
In documents LeBoeuf showed WCTV exclusively, he points out the Florida statutes "Corrections Equality Act" showing there MUST be equal men's and women's faith based facilities in Florida.
More than 4,000 men in Florida will still have the opportunity to go to Faith based correctional institutions. Less than 300 women live at HCI and they will have to be moved elsewhere.
According to LeBoeuf, The Faith Based programs are two-thirds more effective at reducing recidivism.
LeBoeuf said, "The Secretary in his plan to close this facility, talked about saving money. But if you include in the cost that most of these women will not come back into the correctional system they had been rehabilitated... so we don't have to worry about housing them in prison again."
Charna Bogdany is one of the volunteers LeBoeuf is representing. She teaches art and creative writing to the women. She says HCI gives them a chance to learn, and become better citizens.
"You see changes in people, and you see light come in their eyes when they enjoy something, or when they can do something," Bogdany said.
We spoke to the Department of Corrections who said despite the announcement on March 15th, they have no plans to close HCI on April 1st. They said "Secretary Buss is working with the volunteers of Hillsborough CI to determine if other options exist that would allow more inmates to participate in the Hillsborough program while allowing the Department to lower costs to Florida taxpayers."
LeBouef is trying to get an emergency hearing, in hopes to keep the facility open for the women.
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