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Florida Department of Corrections

Jason Bellows was a Florida inmate on his way out of prison and back into the real world. 

The Florida Department of Corrections is looking into changing the rules for prison visitations. But, prison officials are getting pushback from different families and friends of inmates currently behind bars.

A package of contraband covered in grass clippings that was dropped by a drone at a Panhandle prison is one of the most recent examples of inmates using advanced technology to smuggle illegal items behind prison walls.

With the third largest inmate population in the U.S., the Florida Department of Corrections is continuing to look for ways to get that number to decrease—even as it’s started declining in recent years. State lawmakers may be coming together on a solution that used to be controversial in the past.

The Florida Department Of Corrections has started evacuating some of their smaller facilities in South Florida.

Security Threat Leads State To Cancel Prison Visitation

Aug 17, 2017

State prison officials cited a security threat in canceling visitation at all of its 149 facilities.

Governor Rick Scott has signed a bill into law meant to help Florida’s inmates.

Lawsuit Targets Prison System Over Hepatitis Care

May 12, 2017

Three inmates filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday alleging that the Florida Department of Corrections is failing to provide proper care to thousands of prisoners diagnosed with hepatitis C.

No correctional officers are responsible for the scalding hot shower death of mentally ill inmate Darren Rainey. That’s according to Miami Dade’s State Attorney, who released a report concluding just that. But, some people aren’t buying it.

Prosecutors in Miami-Dade County said that they found no evidence of a crime in the death of a prison inmate who was left for two hours in a hot shower.

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday moved to intervene in a nearly year-old lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections, alleging that the state's prison agency "systematically violates the rights of inmates with disabilities."

Florida Department of Corrections’ probation officers will be working with law enforcement across the state Monday to ensure sex offenders are not interacting with kids this Halloween.

Florida Fights To Keep Lethal Drug Records Secret

Jul 13, 2016

Lawyers representing seven Arizona Death Row inmates want information about the drugs used in Florida's lethal-injection procedure, but corrections officials are asking a judge to keep the documents secret.

Florida Prisons Sued Over Treatment Of Disabled Inmates

Jan 27, 2016

A group representing disabled inmates has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Florida prison officials of discriminating against prisoners who are deaf, blind or confined to wheelchairs, in violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Florida Department of Corrections

Convicted killer Oscar Ray Bolin was executed late Thursday for the murder of a Pasco County woman.

Though the U.S. Supreme Court considered a last-minute appeal, the 53-year-old killer of three women was executed at Florida State Prison in Starke at 10:16 p.m. Minutes earlier, the Court rejected the final appeal of Bolin, clearing the way for his execution.

As Florida lawmakers continue to iron out how much funding will go toward the state’s troubled prison system, some are hopeful there will be enough to cover staffing levels and deteriorating buildings.

Gov. Rick Scott ordered changes at the Department of Corrections last Friday to address prison beatings and corruption after the Legislature went home without doing the same.

The Legislature was working on bills to address problems after a series of reports detailed deaths, cover-ups and corruption in the prison system. But the bills died when the Florida House went home three days early over a budget impasse and a dispute with the Senate over health care coverage for the poor.

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones says she intends to fire the correctional officers involved in the murder plot of a former black inmate.

The Florida Senate has passed an omnibus prison reform package aimed at revamping Florida’s troubled prison system.

A record number of inmates – 346 people — died behind bars in Florida last year.

Most were from natural causes, but a series of suspicious deaths have raised questions about safety in the prisons. Federal and state law enforcement agencies are now investigating why so many inmates have been dying.

Latandra Ellington, 36, was serving time for tax fraud at Lowell Correctional Institution in central Florida when she died. Algarene Jennings, Ellington's aunt, believes she was murdered.

A panel of Florida lawmakers is continuing a discussion into reforming the state’s troubled prison system by hearing testimony about widespread corruption and abuse within the prison walls.

Florida prisons are getting a shake down after reports of corruption and prisoner abuse. Now Senators are asking those with an inside view to help give them a better understanding of what’s happening in Florida’s prisons.

A comprehensive prison reform package cleared another Senate committee Wednesday. But, at the bill’s next stop, the measure may look a little different due to some bipartisan concerns with the omnibus bill.

As Florida lawmakers continue to delve into making changes to the state’s troubled prison system, some want to hear from the employees affected by the changes. But, several correctional officers say they’re afraid of retaliation from the prison agency due to a new policy some are calling a “gag order.”

A Senate panel unanimously passed an omnibus package aimed at reforming Florida’s troubled prison system Monday. It includes creating a nine-member oversight board that can do surprise inspections, convene public hearings, and conduct independent investigations of correctional facilities. That part is authored by Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island).

Prison privatization has been a contentious issue in Florida—even costing one Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary his job. But, after the latest DOC head made some candid remarks on the topic, could she now be backtracking?

New Prisons Chief Wants More Money, Oversight

Jan 21, 2015
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

In her first appearance before the Legislature since taking the helm of the Florida Department of Corrections two weeks ago, a candid Secretary Julie Jones painted a picture of an understaffed agency embattled by a crumbling infrastructure, skyrocketing numbers of mentally ill prisoners and private health-care vendors who aren't living up to their contract requirements.

The two criminal justice panels of the Florida Legislature are slated to meet Tuesday to take up a number of issues from the state’s troubled prison agency to a gun bill allowing guns on campus.

Newly appointed Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julies Jones is expected to brief the Senate Criminal Justice Committee members about areas where the department is lacking and trying to improve.

Some Florida lawmakers are questioning whether the state’s prison agency plagued by allegations of inmate abuse can be trusted to accurately report suspicious inmate deaths. That issue arose in a Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing Monday.

Hundreds of inmate deaths with questionable circumstances have sparked a potential federal investigation into the state's corrections system.

The U.S. Department of Justice has notified state authorities it will look into potential abuses of inmates after 320 people died behind bars in Florida this year - the highest number of inmate deaths on record.

At the same time, there's been a doubling of incidents involving the use of force by corrections officers.

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