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Overcrowding can occur in SWFL prisons due to staffing problems

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Staffing issues can lead to overcrowding in SWFL prisons

CHARLOTTE COUNTY — We discovered that the southwest Florida prisons have a high staffing ratio.

One woman told us that her boyfriend was found sleeping on Charlotte Correctional Institution’s floor with many other prisoners.

Florida Department of Corrections (FDC), announced that they were closing the Fort Myers Work Camp, Lee County because of a staff shortage. The inmates were all transferred to Charlotte Correctional Institution when that occurred.

Tara Clark is friends with a man who went there. She tells us there are now more beds than inmates. Clark claimed that Joshua Cole, her boyfriend was in Fort Myers Work Camp as he is not a violent offender.

“Josh never went to jail. Clark stated that Clark isn’t like him and he doesn’t commit any violent crimes.

Clark claims Cole is now in Charlotte Correctional Institution. So we asked the state why.

The FDC’s response was in part: “A large number of the most important FDC institutions are at or under critical staffing levels. FDC is planning to consolidate certain work camps in their main institutions so that they can consolidate their staff.

Clark states that the consolidation has led to many prison inmates being made into unacceptable conditions.

Clark said that Clark was one of the 120 inmates who allowed Clark to let Clark sleep on the floors.

Cole is her boyfriend. She said he told her about his visit when she went to visit.

“The person on top of the bunk goes down and hits their head. Clark said that Clark can’t imagine Clark’s living area without the toilet right next to him.

FDC stated that it is actively seeking out more employees. For staff hiring at several facilities, such as the Charlotte Correctional Institution, it offers $ 1,000 in signing bonuses. Uncertified correctional officers were paid $ 33,500 more and the shift time was reduced from 12 hours to 8.

Clark said that inmates such as her boyfriend can leave while Clark works with the FDC to resolve the problems.

Clark said, “If they can’t keep their staff, they should start looking at nonviolent workers and allow them to go home. That’s not how people live.”

Clark spoke with us again after our interview. She said her boyfriend had been assigned a bed but that other prisoners did not.

According to her, Fort Myers Work Camp inmates were moved on September 29th. This means that some might have been sleeping on the ground for nearly three weeks.

After our questions were answered by the FDC, we requested that a photographer be brought to Charlotte Correctional Institution so they could see first-hand the conditions.

This request is still unanswered.

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