Gov. Rick Scott's push for increasing education spending by $1 billion next year will force serious cuts in other programs, because the state is facing a nearly $2 billion shortfall. The governor's budget recommendations will include closing five or six more prisons next year, carrying out the privatization of all inmate health care and privatizing up to five inmate work release centers.
As the inmate population continues its slight downward trend, fewer prisons are needed. The Legislature last spring voted to close prisons in Brevard, Glades and Hendry counties.
Other Scott criminal justice proposals include reducing probation officer positions (for a savings of $7.6 million); put correctional officers statewide assigned to inmate dorms on 12-hour work shifts ($9 million); and close 167 non-secure residential beds in the Department of Juvenile Justice ($6.8 million).
-- Steve Bousquet