Florida to close 11 correctional facilities
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Department of Corrections is closing seven state prisons and four work camps for a savings of roughly $90 million over the next two years.
What wasn't immediately clear after the Thursday announcement was how many of the nearly 1,300 employees who worked at those facilities, including corrections officers, would still have jobs.
"We are committed to placing as many affected staff as possible in vacant positions for which they are qualified," Corrections Secretary Kenneth S. Tucker said in a statement.
The prisons being closed are Broward Correctional Institution in Ft. Lauderdale, Demilly Correctional Institution in Polk City, Gainesville Correctional Institution in Alachua County, Hillsborough Correctional Institution near Tampa, Indian River Correctional Institution in Vero Beach, Jefferson Correctional Institution in Monticello and both units of New River Correctional Institution in Raiford.
Work camps being shuttered are River Junction Work Camp in Chattahoochee, Caryville Work Camp in Washington County, Hendry Work Camp in Immokalee and Levy Forestry Camp in Ocala.
Ken Wood, acting president of Teamsters Local 2011, the union that represents corrections officers, noted that the closings announcement came just as union and state representatives were about to review new contract proposals.
"The closings of these prisons are on the backs of hardworking officers who keep Florida communities safe," Wood said.
All of the shutdowns and inmate moves should be completed by July.
No inmates will be released early as a result of what the agency calls a "consolidation plan." Inmates at the prisons and camps slated for closure will be moved to other facilities. Tucker explained that declining prison admissions led to a surplus of prison beds.
Last year, the state also closed Brevard Correctional Institution in Cocoa, Hendry Correctional Institution in Immokalee, the Tallahassee Road Prison and the Lowell and Sumter boot camps.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)