About Florida Department of Corrections
The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is an important agency in the state of Florida that operates prisons and other detention facilities. It has its headquarters in Building 500 on Reubin Askew Drive in Tallahassee. This Department is accountable to the Governor and the Florida Legislature.
The agency started in 1868 when the Florida Legislature passed an act that established the state's first convict leasing program. This system used convicts leased to private companies for public works projects such as construction, mining, and railroad work. However, the Department's role changed in 1957. This change ended convict leasing and mandated that male prisoners work within the prison confinements.
The agency has one of the lowest rates of violent offenses committed by inmates in prisons. However, it does have an increasing trend in drug (cocaine) and alcohol violations.
Further, local Sheriffs are responsible for investigating allegations of staff misconduct. Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) may also take over the responsibility, depending on the nature of the complaint.
The DOC holds up to 250 juvenile convicts below 18 years. The Lowell Correctional Facility houses the female ones, while the Sumter Correctional Institution and Suwannee Correctional Institution houses male convicts. The severity of male juveniles' crimes and their conduct determine the institution to house them.
Florida Department of Corrections Facilities and Their Operations
FDC has a total of 143 institutions around the state. Among these facilities are:
- 50 central institutions.
- 16 annexes.
- Seven private facilities.
- 33 work camps.
- Three reentry centers, two road prisons.
- 12 FDC-operated work release centers and an additional 18 work release centers by various private vendors. However, FDC oversees these contracts.
Furthermore, the Department divides the institutions into four distinct geographical areas. The headquarters in Tallahassee offer support and oversight to all these facilities through each region's director and their subordinates.
There are over 23000 employees under the Department due to the vast number of institutions.
Operation of the Department
The Florida DOC prisons hold convicts with court sentences of more than one year. The Department transfers them from county jails and admits them into the system. The admission happens via one of four male and two female reception facilities in strategic positions around the state.
Inmates undergo processing, examination, and review by health services upon their arrival at a reception facility. They also undergo screening for program needs and their security risks. Custody determination is on the basis of:
- The severity of their crimes.
- Their incarceration length.
- The amount of sentences remaining.
- Past criminal history.
- Any history of escape attempts.
Afterward, the department officials transport the prisoner to the appropriate correctional facility. Usually, there is a reservation of prisons with higher levels of security for the most dangerous criminals serving the longest terms and those least likely to acclimatize to institutional life.
Office of the Inspector General
The FDC Office of Inspector General (OIG) has the responsibility to ensure the integrity and efficiency of correctional operations. It achieves this goal through criminal investigations, auditing, fiscal control, operational review, and internal security.
The OIG is responsible for supervising over 100 Investigators who conduct direct inspections on State Correctional Institutions (SCIs), Privately Operated Prisons (POPs), and Community Correctional Centers (NCC's) statewide.
The OIG also provides security instruction to all correctional personnel statewide. Training includes but is not limited to:
- Use of Force (UOF).
- Preliminary Firearms Training (PFT).
- Security Threat Groups (STG).
- Controlled Substances Recognition.
- Investigative Interviewing Techniques.
- Crime Investigations.
Moreover, the office provides forensic expertise through the Forensic Services Section. This section also engages in crime scene management at FDC correctional institutions. The Inspector General's Office also coordinates with other criminal justice agencies such as local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to provide investigative support, technical assistance, and training.
The Florida DOC provides prisoners with a reasonable level of care upon admission to the Department's facilities. This provision is in line with Sections 945.025(2) and 945.6034, F.S. Furthermore, these care practices comprise of medical, mental health, and dental care and all related auxiliary services.
The Office of Health Services (OHS) runs and oversees institutional healthcare service delivery. Such administrative functions include:
- Technical assistance.
- Staff training.
- Development of administrative policies.
- Attending to grievances and appeals and legal issues.
The Director of Health Services heads the OHS office and is answerable to the secretary. Furthermore, the office also has a Chief Clinical Advisor.
Bureau chiefs are responsible for overseeing each healthcare field within the Department (medical, nursing, pharmacy, mental health, dental, and administration).
Delivery of the Healthcare Services
Centurion of Florida, LLC is under contract with the Department to offer comprehensive inmate healthcare services across the state. It delivers the services in a managed-care approach. Initial screening happens at the reception centers during the transfer from county jails. The screening is essential to assess their current medical, dental, and mental health care requirements at a receiving facility. It entails auditory assessments, mobility, visual evaluations, and determining whether or not a patient requires specialist mental health assistance.
The contractor uses a core workforce of clinicians and administrators to offer primary care inside each prison. Additionally, the health services team offers medical treatment to convicts in solitary confinement.
Canine Obedience Training Program
The Florida Department of Corrections administers multiple Canine Obedience Training Programs around the state. It does so through collaborative agreements with several animal care groups. These initiatives aid in promoting the adaptability of the dogs while also providing offenders with employment skills. The skills will be helpful upon prison release.
The inmates take the dogs through the socialization process during training. Moreover, they teach them basic obedience commands such as sit and come. They also train the dogs to walk by the instructor without losing focus.
The program allows offenders to acquire up to four certificates by effectively demonstrating their skills resulting from the program's participation. The length of these programs ranges from eight weeks to up to 18 months.
Higher Education in Prison (HEP) Programs
The Florida Department of Corrections collaborates with three (3) of the state's most prestigious institutions of higher learning. These institutions are Florida Gateway College, Miami-Dade College, and Palm Beach State College. They participate in the delivery of approved degrees at six different DOC facilities around the state.
The inmates receive high-quality educational opportunities via a number of instructional platforms. Such platforms include face-to-face, virtual, and online learning platforms. Several studies indicate that postsecondary education may lower recidivism while simultaneously increasing the employability and incomes of reentry inmates.
Please visit this website for additional information about these programs, including eligibility conditions.
Currently, the Community Corrections Office in Florida is monitoring over 164,000 convicts on probation. There are probation officials in over 120 probation offices who oversee the activities of the offenders. This covers parolees, conditional releasees, and prisoners on medical release. Moreover, the office is also responsible for the activities of those on court-ordered supervision. This includes normal probation, sex offender probation, and community control. The officers are also in charge of monitoring convicts who are on pre-trial intervention.
One of the primary missions of Community Corrections is to safeguard the public. It achieves this goal by overseeing criminals and reporting noncompliance to the appropriate sentence or release authority. Correctional Probation Officers also enforce the court's special conditions, such as payment of victim restitution fee, inmate participation in substance abuse treatment programs, as well as other sanctions.
Further, field contacts are responsible for monitoring offenders at their houses, places of work, and other locations across the community. The officers also make appropriate recommendations to provide the offenders with the necessary resources to complete their parole/probation successfully.
Florida DOC Prisoner Lookup Process
Florida Department of Corrections offender locator is an online service for accessing information relating to inmates under the DOC. Individuals can access the website through this link, and it's on a regular update for accuracy and completeness. However, the information is subject to change at any time. As a result, it doesn't accurately represent an offender's actual location, status, release date, or other relevant information at the time of publication.
The DOC Inmate Search Hints
The initial step involves visiting the DOC offender locator website. Then, follow these hints for ease of search:
First Name/Last Name
This search will list all matches whose names begin with the input letters. Both names do not necessarily have to be used together, as results will still show using one name. However, it is advisable to use the first name together with the last name for accuracy and prompt results.
This is a unique identifying number for inmates. It has six characters and can be entirely numeric or consist of one alpha character. Numeric numbers usually come after the alpha character. Use of this number gives results on the specific inmate who owns it.
Further, individuals can either check or uncheck the aliases box during name search.