Florida has too many empty prison beds and a budget that needs cutting. That means some prisons will be closing starting next month. The state has 100-thousand inmates. With the crime rate falling, the Department of Corrections has 12,000 prison beds that aren’ t needed. Steve Bousquet with the Herald-Times Tallahassee bureau says the facilities, scattered around the state, are scheduled to be shuttered by June 30th.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/PRISONSCLOSE1.mp3]
The closures include two all-female prisons in Tampa and Pembroke Pines. The corrections department will try to shift the displaced workers to other facilities or state agencies.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/PRISONSCLOSE2.mp3]
The closures are part of Governor Rick Scott’s effort to cut $64-million from the corrections budget. No word on what the state will do with the vacant facilities. These buildings tend to be out in the middle of nowhere, old and with no air conditioning.
The prisons being closed are Broward Correctional Institution (CI) in Ft. Lauderdale, Demilly CI in Polk City, Gainesville CI in Alachua County, Hillsborough CI in Riverview near Tampa, Indian River CI in Vero Beach, Jefferson CI in Monticello and New River CI (both units) in Raiford. In addition, River Junction Work Camp in Chattahoochee, Caryville Work Camp near Northwest Florida Reception Center in Washington County, Hendry Work Camp in Immokalee, and Levy Forestry Camp near Lowell CI in Ocala will also be closed.