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Audit details ‘dangerous’ understaffing at Florida prisons

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. >> An independent audit commissioned by the Florida Department of Corrections has concluded that Florida’s prisons are so “chronically understaffed” that an emergency should be declared to keep corrections officers and inmates safe.

The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee bureau reported Tuesday that the National Institute of Corrections report says the lack of prison staff costs the state millions in overtime costs, encourages vacancies, falls below national standards and exposes Florida taxpayers to increased costs if a murder, riot or escape were to occur at any of the prisons.

Department of Corrections spokesman McKinley Lewis says the agency has pushed for more funding and is doing the best it can with what it has.

Corrections Secretary Julie Jones told legislative committees last week her budget includes a request for 273 more officers.

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