From Tampa Bay Times’ Mary Ellen Klas, 04/06/2018:
The legislature passed and Gov. Rick Scott signed an $87 billion budget that was $28 million short in prison funding. Now, to close the gap, the Florida Department of Corrections is eliminating programs that prepare inmates for their return to the community.
The agency had warned lawmakers in February that they needed more money to cover court-ordered healthcare services and to renew the healthcare contract for inmates. Legislators ignored the warning and instead made cuts, leaving the agency with a $79 million deficit in its $2.3 billion budget, and not enough money to pay for inmate healthcare, which the state is legally required to provide.
To make up the shortfall, Corrections Secretary Julie Jones announced last week she was cutting substance abuse and mental health treatment programs and eliminating re-entry and work-release services that prepare high-security inmates for life out of prison.