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Inmate Release Plan

November 13th, 2009 by flanews

A plan to release 5,000 Prisoners to help make up for a projected 2.6 billion dollar budget shortfall is being discussed by lawmakers. The plan arose after the Florida Department of Corrections was asked to draft a budget with 10 percent fewer dollars. As Whitney Ray tells us, the likelihood of prisoners being released is low, but finding money to keep them locked up could lead to more layoffs.

Tonight in Florida 100-thousand people will go to sleep in a state prison cell. But a 2.6 billion dollar budget shortfall could mean a get-out-of-jail-free card for 5,000 inmates. The proposal comes as Florida’s Department of Corrections looks for ways to cut 224 million dollars from its budget.

“This is just a budget exercise. Every state agency is required to do one for this year, so that’s what we did, but we don’t anticipate having to do this. We are pretty hopeful we can work with lawmakers,” said Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for DOC.

The suggestions DOC offered up include cuts to drug abuse programs, education programs, and closing offices.

The state could save 11 million dollars by closing three prisons, but the move could mean layoffs for correctional officers.

For the past three years, The Florida Police Benevolent Association has been fighting cuts that have put thousands of jobs at risk. PBA Executive Director David Murrell says law enforcement can’t stand any more reductions

“We are cut to the bone now and it is too the point were we just can’t do anymore. I don’t think the citizens will stand for it,” said Murrell.

But with Florida entering an election year and the governor fighting for votes, releasing prisoners and laying off correctional officers who’ve endorsed him isn’t likely.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Children, Criminal Justice, Health, Legislature, Politics, State Budget, State News | No Comments »

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