AV Preeminent
The Florida Bar

Florida Prisons

The Florida Department of Corrections is charged with managing the state’s penal system, says Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore. Statewide, there are 146 “prison facilities,” according to the DOC. Well over 80 percent are housed in the major institutions throughout the state. All together, there are 63 state prisons and over 100,000 inmates at any given time. Offenders who are awaiting trial or pre-trial release, or those who have been convicted and sentenced to less than one year in custody, are detained in local jails. The prison system only holds offenders who have been convicted and are sentenced to at least one year of confinement, says Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore.

Seven Florida prisons are operated by private companies who are contracted by the state. Interestingly, all of the private prisons are air-conditioned, while few of the others are. Of those who go to prison in Florida, about a third will return to a prison in this state within three years. Others may return at a later time, serve time in another state or in the federal system, only spend time in county jails, or they may steer clear of criminal troubles entirely, notes Broward criminal lawyer Moore.

Prisoners held in Florida do not have access to cable television. Most live in dorm-style housing, rather than in individual cells, and donated televisions serve approximately 75 inmates per TV. (Those held on death row generally have one 13 inch television per person.) The vast majority of inmates work in some capacity, whether it is on site in the kitchen or doing cleaning and laundry, or off site as part of a work crew. The work crews serve a variety of agencies, including the Departments of Transportation and Forestry, as well as non-profit organizations and local governments.

The most common criminal offenses for inmates are as follows:

  1. Drug charges (sale/manufacture) — 9.4%
  2. Armed robbery — 8.6%
  3. Burglary of a dwelling — 8.0%
  4. Capital murder — 6.5%
  5. Trafficking in controlled substances — 6.5
  6. Lewd and lascivious behavior — 4.4%
  7. Second degree murder — 4.4%
  8. Robbery (no weapon) — 3.7%
  9. Aggravated battery — 3.2%
  10. Possession of drugs or other — 3.0%

Just 7 percent of inmates in the state of Florida are women. Broward County sends the largest number of total inmates in the state at 8.4 percent, with Fort Lauderdale-Dade a close second at 8.2 percent.

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