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Several Florida jails closed and inmates reoriented as state tackles staff shortage
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Citing state analysts, Florida outlets warned earlier this month that the prison population in the Sunshine State is expected to increase by about 7.1% in this fiscal year, several months after a strong decline in the number of prisoners due to releases linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and a backlog of criminal cases that have accumulated.

The Florida Department of Corrections will soon be closing several North Florida prisons in a last ditch effort to make up for crippling staff shortages that have resulted in increased risks to prison staff and prisoners.

Jim Baiardi, president of the Corrections Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, revealed to the Miami Herald that Mark Inch, secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, will close Baker Correctional Institution in Sanderson, Fla., And New River Correctional Institution in Bradford County, Florida. .

Cross City Correctional Facility in Dixie County, Fla. Has recently been closed due to flooding and will remain closed indefinitely.

Currently, the Florida prison system has about 5,000 vacancies for correctional officers, according to the media outlet.

Baiardi noted that Inch “will temporarily close some prisons close to each other, so that he can redirect staff and inmates to places where they can safely run institutions at the moment.”

Despite the move, the union representative doesn’t think it will have much of an impact, as he is doing little to address the manpower shortage.

According to Baiardi, some 1,200 prison officers could be transferred to other establishments.

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