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State refuses to divulge new plan to help ex-prisoners

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The state’s Department of Corrections has slapped a ‘top secret’ label on its plan to help ex-cons in Broward County. The department on Monday turned down a request by POLITICO Florida to release a “transition plan,” now that the state has ended its partnership with the Orlando-based Bridges of America nonprofit. Bridges of America had a contract to run a transitional and substance abuse program for former prisoners in Broward County. The arrangement ends May 16, and the department told the organization it’s not renewing the deal.…

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In Florida’s prisons, fear and loathing

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When a prisoner told former Dade Correctional Facility counsellor Harriet Krzykowski about how the prison guards starved him and his fellow inmates, Krzykowski thought he must be paranoid. But as Eyal Press in the New Yorker writes, that wasn’t the half of it. Krzykowski worked in the facility’s “Transitional Care Unit,” or T.C.U., which, in theory was “designed to provide mentally ill inmates with a safe environment in which they would receive treatment that might allow them to return to the main compound.”…

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Dept. of Corrections shutting down lauded prisoner-assistance program

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A nonprofit specializing in helping former prisoners re-enter society is slamming the state for shutting it down. Specifically, Bridges of America says the Department of Corrections is pulling the plug on its transitional and substance abuse program in Broward County. The current contract between Bridges and the department ends May 16. The state told the group it won’t renew the deal, according to a letter from the nonprofit’s attorney. The nonprofit says it’s planning a news conference Monday morning in…

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Budget conferees agree on general gov’t and prison funding issues, bump state radios funds

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Senior budget writers met Sunday afternoon to continue hammering out differences in House and Senate appropriations proposals, still hundreds of millions of dollars apart. In keeping with their recent meetings since committee sub-chairs “bumped up” remaining budget issues to the at-large budget conference, Chair Rep. Richard Corcoran and Vice Chair Sen. Tom Lee – their respective chambers’ appropriations chiefs – made swift progress at the hearing, though a simmering industry “fist fight” over state police radios slowed down discussions over the weekend and prevented the panel…

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Today on Context Florida: Clinton’s speaking fees, forfeiture laws, fixing prisons and technical skills

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Today on Context Florida: Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem need to stop obsessing about young women who won’t vote for Hillary Clinton, says Martin Dyckman. There’s a better use for their time and energy if they want her to be elected president. That’s to take Clinton by the shoulders, shake her until her teeth rattle, and scream into her ear, “Who do you think you are? Marie Antoinette?” But here’s what Clinton did say when asked why she took $675,000 from…

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What message does Smart Justice Summit send by featuring Angola State prison warden Burl Cain?

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Florida’s Department of Corrections has had a difficult past few years, with allegations of widespread abuse, neglect, torture and death of inmates under Its watch. Brandishing a list of suspected violations both criminal and civil rights, a coalition of 14 human rights groups is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the DOC. Claims include excessive use of force, misuse of solitary confinement, suicide, starvation, sexual assault, torture by scalding and more. Among this shower of criticism is…

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On Julie Jones’ ridiculous statement to the Miami Herald

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After a story in Sunday’s Miami Herald detailed instances of corruption, coerced sex and trading of sex for contraband, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones issued a written statement saying reforms implemented under her leadership have made Lowell Correctional Institution a safer place, but added she plans to “thoroughly review the disturbing allegations brought forward by the Miami Herald to ensure that the appropriate action is taken against any individual bearing responsibility for misconduct.” No surprise there. Startle a turtle and…

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