Budget move to save Jefferson Co. prison has other counties trying to save theirs

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Money put into the budget by lawmakers to keep open Jefferson Correctional Institution has other counties trying to convince lawmakers to save prisons slated for closure, the Tallahassee Democrat reported Monday. Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker also told the Democrat after a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott that the move by lawmakers to keep the prison open doesn’t solve the long-term funding problem in the agency and may only be a temporary reprieve for the rural county. “Depending on what finally comes out of the Legislature, that’s the money to keep it open 12 months but they didn’t fund it indefinitely,” Tucker said as he left the governor’s office, according to the Democrat. “So 12 months from now, we could be right back where we are today.” Tucker said Indian River County has passed a resolution to try to save its prison, and that other counties are also trying to follow JCI’s lead. Employees at the Jefferson County prison and several local community leaders lobbied the Legislature heavily after the prison was put on a list for closure by DOC. Lawmakers stepped in and put money into the budget to pay the operating cost of the Monticello facility with the condition that it be kept open.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.