Florida Department of Corrections

The Florida Department of Corrections operates state prisons in the U.S. state of Florida. It has its headquarters in Florida's capital of Tallahassee.

Florida Department of Corrections
Florida Department of Corrections Patch since 2016
Florida Department of Corrections Patch since 2016
Correctional Officer Badge
Correctional Officer Badge
Motto"Inspiring success by transforming one life at a time."
Agency overview
Preceding agency
  • Florida Department of Offender Rehabilitation[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionFlorida, United States
Map of USA FL.svg
Map of Florida Department of Corrections's jurisdiction.
Size65,795 square miles (170,410 km2)
Population18,328,340 (2008 est.)[3]
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersTallahassee, Florida, U.S.
Elected officer responsible
Agency executive

The Florida Department of Corrections operates the third largest state prison system in the United States. It is the largest agency administered by the State of Florida, with a budget of $2.4 billion, over 95,000 inmates incarcerated and another 115,000+ offenders on some type of community supervision.

The Florida Department of Corrections has 143 facilities statewide, including 43 major institutions, 33 work camps, 15 Annexes, 20 work release centers and 6 road prisons/forestry camps. It has more than 23,000 employees, about three-quarters of whom are either certified corrections officers or probation officers. Florida Department of Corrections has K9 units statewide that are frequently utilized for tracking escapees and, in cases of small or rural law enforcement agencies, criminals who have fled from law enforcement or assisting in search and rescue for missing persons.[4]


Dade Correctional Institution/Homestead Correctional Institution

Florida's first penitentiary was opened in the U.S. arsenal property at Chattahoochee in 1868.[5]

On 16 July 1967, 37 prisoners were killed by a fire at camp used by a convict road crew at Jay.[6][7]

From 1991 to 2010, major crime rate, per capita, dropped 52%. Major crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, theft, auto theft and arson. This led, in turn, to fewer new convictions and imprisonments, leading to closure of facilities. The number of new annual admissions peaked at 42,000 in 2007. It dropped to 35,000 new admissions in 2011.[8]

In 2013, the Florida Corrections Secretary reported that 87% of all inmates would eventually be released back into society.[9]

Incarceration is determined by the judge on the basis of a point system. On various scoresheets, if the criminal or crime scores above 44, imprisonment is mandatory; under 22, the convict may not be imprisoned. Between the two, judges have discretion.[10]

Death rowEdit

Florida State Prison and Union Correctional Institution each have a male death row, while Lowell Annex has the female death row. Florida State Prison houses the state's execution chamber. Unlike other prisoners, condemned prisoners wear orange overshirts. Condemned prisoners wear the same blue trousers worn by other prisoners.[11]

When Lowell Correctional Institution opened in 1956 as the Florida Correctional Institution, it housed the female death row.[12] The prison now known as Florida State Prison opened in 1961 as the East Annex; at the time of opening it began to house the execution chamber.[13] At some point the Broward Correctional Institution housed female death row inmates.[14] Lowell Annex opened in April 2002.[15] The female death row was moved to Lowell Annex in February 2003.[16]


As of 2015, 93% of the Florida state prison inmates were male and 7% were female. Of the male inmates, 47% were black non-Hispanics, 40.2% were white non-Hispanics, 12.5% were Hispanic, and under 1% were other non-Hispanics. Of the female inmates, 65% were white non-Hispanics, 30% were black non-Hispanics, 5% were Hispanic, and under 1% were other non-Hispanic.[17]


In 2003, about one-third (32.8%) were returned to prison within three years of release.[18] This dropped to 27.6% for those freed in 2008.[9]


The state houses between 90-250 inmates up to the age of 17 between three state prisons during any given time with females at Lowell Correctional Institution and males at Sumter Correctional Institution or Suwannee Correctional Institution dependent on behavior.


It costs on average $19,469 per year to incarcerate an inmate in Florida.[18][19] This includes $2.32 per day for 2,800 calorie meals.[20]

2011 budget cutsEdit

In first quarter 2011, the State of Florida announced the closing of 6 institutions in order to save up to $30 million. Three prisons, two bootcamps, and a road prison were closed. Brevard Correctional Institution,[21] which is a youthful offender prison, Lowell Boot Camp, a youthful offender female boot camp, Sumter Basic Training Unit, a youthful offender male boot camp, Hendry Correctional Institution,[22] the female prison Hillsborough Correctional Institution,[23] and Tallahassee Road Prison were the institutions that were closed. No inmates were released as a result of the closing, and the employees of the closing institutions were offered jobs at other prisons. The institutions began moving inmates on April 1, 2011, and finished as of June 30, 2011. Hillsborough Correctional Institution and Sumter BTU were not closed.[24][25]

Governor Rick Scott ordered a second group of prisons to be closed. The Florida Department of Corrections stated that aside from the obvious financial reasons, another reason for the closings is because of a declining prison population. The following prisons were closed:[26]

  • Broward Correctional Institution
  • Demilly Correctional Institution
  • Gainesville Correctional Institution
  • Hillsborough Correctional Institution (large amount of pleas caused closing to be postponed after the initial closing)[27]
  • Indian River Correctional Institution
  • New River Correctional Institution (both units)
  • River Junction Work Camp
  • Caryville Work Camp
  • Hendry Work Camp
  • Levy Forestry Camp


As of June 30, 2012, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) had a total of 23,525. The department had 17,498 certified criminal justice officers in institutions or probation/parole offices.[2]

The Florida Department of Corrections is constantly hiring to fill its ranks due to retirements, and turnovers. Florida Correctional Officers start at $30,150.38 while in training, and once trained can earn as much as $37,885.[28]

FDC recruits are paid while they attend recruit training, and Officers can transfer anywhere in the State with FDC. Opportunities include K9 Team, Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT), Rapid Response Team (RRT), and Institutional Inspectors.

  • 15,280 Certified employees in institutions
  • 43 Correctional Officer Colonels
  • 85 Correctional Officer Majors
  • 298 Correctional Officer Captains
  • 426 Correctional Officer Lieutenants
  • 4,046 Correctional Officer Sergeants
  • 10,382 Correctional Officers
  • 2218 Non-institutional Staff
  • 137 Correctional Inspectors
  • 2,081 Correctional Probation Officers

Ranks, insignia, and uniformsEdit

Rank Insignia
Correctional Officer Colonel
Correctional Officer Major
Correctional Officer Captain
Correctional Officer Lieutenant
Correctional Officer Sergeant
Correctional Officer
Correctional Officer (trainee)

In 2017, Florida Corrections Officers changed the traditional Light Brown shirts and dark brown trousers to Gray shirts and black trousers. The polo shirt was discontinued and FDC went back to gray button up shirts with breathable backs. In 2020 the polo shirts with embroidered badges and names were again authorized in a dark gray for Officers and Sergeants, and white for Lieutenants and Captains.[citation needed]


Doyle Carleton Building, current headquarters
Former headquarters in Tallahassee

The headquarters of the agency are in the Doyle Carlton Building in downtown Tallahassee. Some offices are in the Southwood Office Complex in Tallahassee. Starting sometime after March 22, 2011, the department moved into its current headquarters and office buildings.[29]

At one time the agency had its headquarters at 2601 Blair Stone Road in Tallahassee.[30]

Fallen officersEdit

Since the establishment of the Florida Department of Corrections, 31 correctional officers have died in the line of duty. Corrections Officers are frequently placed in dangerous situations where officers have lost lives. The Department has a standing memorial to officers who have died in the line of duty at the Wakulla Correctional Institution where the fallen's names are carved into the memorial.[31]


There have been several recorded cases of corruption and prisoner abuse in the Florida Department of Corrections.

In 2007, the state faced lawsuits alleging "excessive as well as "malicious and sadistic" use of pepper spray," and "that its prisons subject too many inmates, including the mentally ill, to a prisoner 'warehousing' culture of unlawfully extreme isolation and deprivation, usually with little or no rehabilitation efforts to prevent recidivism."[32]

In 2010, there was a 10-count federal indictment against sixteen individuals connected with the FDC, eleven of whom were corrections officers at the Glades Correctional Institution.[33] The charges included "nine counts of attempting to possess cocaine with intent to distribute." The indictment alleges that the defendants "allegedly agreed to transport and did in fact transport on multiple occasions what they believed to be multi-kilo quantities of cocaine from the undercover warehouses in Miami-Dade County to locations in West Palm Beach." and that the defendants allegedly received a combined total of $145,000 through the drug scheme.[34]

In 2010, two correctional officers at the Lancaster Correctional Institution[35] were charged with malicious battery and cruel or inhumane punishment after an inmate collapsed in the exercise yard during routine drills. An investigation discovered that the correctional officers forced the inmate to perform strenuous exercises in the sand, heat and provided no water breaks while denying his request for medical help and failed to call for emergency help after the inmate collapsed. The inmate was in critical condition, but has since recovered.[36][37][38]

Press reports indicate that in June 2012, a mentally ill prisoner was forced into a locked shower by staff at Dade Correctional Institution. After more than an hour in the hot water, Darren Rainey died from his injuries. The investigation is not yet complete.[39]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/timeline/1976-1979a.html
  2. ^ a b http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/annual/1112/personnel.html
  3. ^ "Annual Population Estimates 2000 to 2008". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved December 25, 2008.
  4. ^ "About Us -- Florida Department of Corrections". www.dc.state.fl.us.
  5. ^ "Florida DOCs Timeline page".
  6. ^ "37 KILLED IN FIRE AT A PRISON CAMP IN NORTH FLORIDA; Blaze Is Linked to Breaking of Gas Line and a Lamp During Inmates' Fight". July 17, 1967. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  7. ^ "Jay, FL State Prison Road Camp Fire Kills 37, July 1967". GenDisasters. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  8. ^ Rosica, James (January 30, 2012). "Prisons result of wrong guess". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 8B. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Menzel, Margie (February 5, 2013). "Fewer Fla. inmates are repeat offenders". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 10B. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  10. ^ Torres, John A. (May 31, 2015). "Is there room for mercy during sentencing". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 17A. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  11. ^ "Death Row Fact Sheet Archived August 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010.
  12. ^ "Lowell Correctional Institution." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010.
  13. ^ "Florida State Prison." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010.
  14. ^ "Death Row Fact Sheet." Florida Department of Corrections. February 3, 2001. Retrieved on August 31, 2010.
  15. ^ "Lowell Annex." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010.
  16. ^ "Broward Correctional Institution Archived April 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 31, 2010.
  17. ^ "[1]."http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/annual/1819/FDC_AR2018-19.pdf Retrieved on August 10, 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Quick Facts about the Florida Department of Corrections". Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  19. ^ Associated Press (March 22, 2009). "Prison's goal:Send inmates home for good". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 8B.
  20. ^ Flemming, Paul (December 12, 2010). "Public figures steal limelight". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 12B. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  21. ^ "Brevard Correctional Institution".
  22. ^ "Hendry Correctional Institution".
  23. ^ "Hillsborough Correctional Institution".
  24. ^ Collette, Christopher. "Riverview facility among 6 Florida prisons to close by this summer." WTSP. March 15, 2011. Retrieved on August 26, 2011.
  25. ^ "6 Florida DOC Facilities to Close by This Summer." WCTV. March 16, 2011. Retrieved on August 26, 2011.
  26. ^ "Florida Department of Corrections to Close Prisons, Work Camps".
  27. ^ Bousquet, Steve. "Advocates make passionate plea for Hillsborough Correctional Institution to stay open". Tampa Bay Times.
  28. ^ https://jobs.myflorida.com/job/TALLAHASSEE-Correctional-Officer-Statewide-FL-34715/617360100/
  29. ^ "Department of Corrections - Central Office is Moving." Florida Department of Corrections. March 22, 2011. Retrieved on July 12, 2011. "Department of Corrections 501 South Calhoun Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-2500 This is both the mailing address for all of Central Office and the physical address for the Carlton employees. The physical address for the Southwood offices is: 4070 Esplanade Way Tallahassee, FL 32311"
  30. ^ "Statement of Agency Organization and Operation." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on December 7, 2009. "2601 Blair Stone Road Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2500"
  31. ^ "Florida Department of Corrections, FL". The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP).
  32. ^ Padgett, Tim (October 17, 2007). "What's Wrong With Florida's Prisons?". Time Inc. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  33. ^ "Glades Correctional Institution". Archived from the original on September 26, 2011.
  34. ^ "State Correction Officers and Others Charged in Drug Trafficking Scheme Sixteen Charged in Undercover Corruption Investigation in Palm Beach County" (Press release). United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida. February 11, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  35. ^ "Lancaster Correctional Institution".
  36. ^ "Two Prison Guards Charged in Florida Inmate Collapse". Wctv.tv. November 30, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  37. ^ Steve Bousquet, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau. "State probes handling of prison inmate who collapsed during mid-day exercise | Tampa Bay Times". Tampabay.com. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  38. ^ Steve Bousquet, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau (December 1, 2010). "Florida prison guards face felony charges over collapse of inmate | Tampa Bay Times". Tampabay.com. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  39. ^ Behind bars, a brutal and unexplained death; by Julie K. Brown, October 14, 2014, Miami Herald

External linksEdit