[UPDATE] 6 Florida DOC Facilities to Close by This Summer

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UPDATED 3.16.2011 by Julie Montanaro

The Tallahassee Road Prison is one of three facilities slated to close by July 1st in hopes of saving 30 million dollars a year.

The low security prison on Springhill Road is home to 82 inmates and 30 employees. All of the inmates will be moved to the Quincy Annex and employees will be moved to either the Quincy Annex, Jefferson Correctional or Liberty Correctional.

A Department of Corrections Spokesperson says the road prison was targeted because it is 70 years old.

"The Tallahassee Road Prison was built in 1941. If we were to keep it open it would need $422,000 dollars worth of repairs, which is a lot for an institution that holds 82 inmates," said DOC Spokeswoman Gretl Plesinger.

Plesinger says a levelling off in the state prison population makes this a perfect time to consolidate facilities and move inmates from smaller prisons to larger ones to save money.

[UPDATE] 3-16 11am --

The Department of Corrections announced plans Tuesday to close three prisons, two boot camp programs and another facility as a way of saving $30 million that agency officials say can be done without releasing any inmates early.

Prisons officials also claim they can do it without many layoffs. A statement from the department said “the bulk” of the cost savings would be generated through employee attrition.

Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss said last week that with about 350 jobs a month turning over in the system, not filling them could give the agency almost all the cuts it needs.

The agency announced plans to close Brevard Correctional Institution near Cocoa, Hendry Correctional Institution in Immokalee and Hillsborough Correctional Institution in Riverview. Also on the block for closure will be the Tallahassee Road Prison, the Lowell Correctional Institution Boot Camp and the Sumter Boot Camp.

Staff at the facilities slated for closure will be offered jobs at other institutions, prisons officials said.

“This plan is the right thing to do because it will save Florida taxpayers millions of dollars,” Buss said in a release. “The facilities to be closed are older and require more resources to operate than newer institutions. Additionally, this initiative will provide the department with an opportunity to consolidate program resources which will allow for seamless delivery of evidence based programs aimed to reduce recidivism.”

The state prison system currently has a surplus of beds, according to prison officials.

An agency statement said the phase out of the facilities would begin immediately with an eye toward completion at the end of June.

While the administration of Gov. Rick Scott has clashed with legislators over the authority to make certain moves without legislative approval, the chairman of the Senate committee that writes the criminal justice budget said Tuesday that Buss is within his authority to close and consolidate prisons without legislative approval.

Fasano, however, is working on a draft criminal justice budget that contemplates far fewer reductions, cutting 85 positions for a savings of just $5.5 million.

Closure of the facility in Brevard County, which has about 350 employees, may be particularly difficult – the area has been hit hard by the slowdown in the space industry and the end of the space shuttle program. Florida Today newspaper in Melbourne reported that prison officials said only 238 of those workers at the Brevard facility would be offered jobs elsewhere, though many of those jobs may be made empty by attrition.

The department said shuttering the facilities would save $30.8 million this year, and $25 million in out years.

The Legislature is looking to cut $3.6 billion from the current year budget to close a gap between revenue and spending. Lawmakers will get an update Friday on how much revenue is expected to be available, which will be the basis for the budget they’ll write this month and next.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- March 15, 2011 --

Florida officials say they will close six of the state's correctional facilities for a savings of at least $30 million this year.

A Florida Department of Corrections representative said on
Tuesday that the state is shuttering the Brevard Correctional
Institution in Cocoa and the Hendry Correctional Institution in
Immokalee. It is also closing the Hillsborough Correctional
Institution in Riverview, the Tallahassee Road Prison and the
Lowell and Sumter boot camps. Workers at those locations will be
offered jobs at other facilities and the closings will not result
in the early release of any inmates.

The state now has a surplus of beds that allows inmates to be
moved within the prison system.

All of the shutdowns should be completed by the end of June.

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