Florida Prison Boss Calls For More Staff, Shorter Shifts

January 13, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott is backing a request by Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones for 734 more prison workers and a reduction in staff shifts from 12 to eight hours.

The recommendations come after three separate audits blamed prison problems, including contraband like cell phones, on inadequate and overworked staff. Scott’s budget request, which came on the opening day of the 2016 legislative session, asks lawmakers for an $82 million increase in prison spending this year, which would bring the agency’s total budget to nearly $2.6 billion.

The additional workers will “make our institutions safer for inmates, agency staff and communities,” Scott said in a press releas

e. In the release, Jones blamed other prison woes on the current 12-hour shift model.

“Poor staff retention, increasing overtime expenditures, introduction of contraband, and staffing shortages are all due in some part to the officer fatigue and burnout associated with 12-hour shifts,” Jones said.

Jones’ budget request is part of an ongoing effort to clean up the state’s corrections system, which has been in the spotlight for allegations of cover-ups regarding prisoner deaths, brutality by prison guards and reports of widespread smuggling of contraband — including cell phones, cigarettes and drugs — into the facilities.

by The News Service of Florida

NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.


28 Responses to “Florida Prison Boss Calls For More Staff, Shorter Shifts”

  1. Laz on October 11th, 2016 1:13 pm

    12 hour shift are way better than 8 hour shift The reason being is because if you were to work Extended workday you only work an extra 4 hrs Instead of the 8hrs if you were working 8 hou shifts.the department’s reasoning is that instead of keeping the officer
    For 4 hours they would keep you for 8 hours.and there are two shifts, 12hrs and swing shift that works 8 hrs to fill the gap.and my opinion is give us a pay raise and be more selective in the hiring process and you’ll weed out the corruption. Working 12 hour shifts will keep officers more rested and alert when doing their job.

  2. Cangelosi on February 6th, 2016 1:46 pm

    Ive been a CO1 for 29 long ass years. The pay disparity is ridiculous for state corrections officers compared to local counties which by the way is the main reason staff leaves. For example here at miami dade county a CO1 can make 80000 a year while a state warden makes the same. In conclusion to make the FDOC a better place overall is PAY more or AT LEAST give raises. Dont worry about shifts or being short staffed i gaurantee if you pay more youll have the opposite problem of over staffing and content officers.

  3. Don Stanton on January 18th, 2016 10:58 am

    As a 10 year vetern of DOC and having worked shift work for 35 years, anyone will tell you 12hr shifts are best deal then 8 hr, for all involved. the problem with DOC is they while on the 8 hr shifts “ghosted” a lot of the slots needed to be manned (used the same person to fill 2 or more slots) then when on 12 hrs and a new Secretary they were force to cover all “critical” slots and pay overtime instead of comp-time. This showed a large OT payout.
    The fact of the matter is if done correctly overtime should be less on 12 hour shifts compared to 8 hour. secondly DOc only tried one variation of 12 hour shifts. I prefered work 4 days off five, but there are staggered shifts there are 12 and 10 hour combined shifts all are better then the 8 housr shifts.
    It starts with SOLID leadership and then good implementation, and showing the workers really matter as well as payraises sooner then every 10 years.

  4. David on January 17th, 2016 12:17 pm

    Mike, that is not how twelve hour shifts work now. It is a much more palatable schedule with at most 3 days in a row and that only happens every other week.

  5. David on January 17th, 2016 12:10 pm

    Gigi, do you have any idea what non-violent means? Non-violent could include anything from petty theft to possession of child pornography. Still want to let them out? How about that dealer who gets a 13 year old hooked on meth and pimps her out so she can cover her habit? Is he good to walk to? I have worked with some violent offenders who I would trust more than so,e of these so called non-violent people you are crying to release. Have you ever walked a turn wearing that uniform? Are you willing to make room in your life with your family for some of these criminals? So stop criticizing others for making s best effort to do their job under the worst possible circumstances. You opinion means nothing if you are speaking with zero knowledge or experience.

  6. C.O. 1 on January 17th, 2016 11:20 am

    Dont know where the smiley face came from that should be im havin to work 8 hours over

  7. C.O. 1 on January 17th, 2016 11:06 am

    Ive been a c.o. for 11 years and the idea of going back to 8 hr shifts is insane. If you think staff morale and shortages is a problem now just wait till we go back to 8’s. And heres some reasons why. 1 we will lose 8 hours a month pay. 2 we end up working 16 hour shifts alot now due to staff shortages atleast once a week ( i know its still 16 hours but its alot easier to say im staying 4 more hours than saying 8) 3 we have a 3 day weekend every other weekend and work only 14 days a month. 4 if thay go back like we use to be if your post has say tues. Wed off thats wat you get every week, never get a weekend off which in turn makes you call in sick to get a weekend off and then you have staff shortages making sombody have to stay over 8 hrs. . I could go on for 100 reasons but my voice dont matter cause the know it alls that run this state have no idea what we really go threw. The few times thay do come on the compound were expected to have the dorm on its best behavior and the smell of bleach in the air and everybody looking sharp but soon as thay walk out the dorm its back to buisness as usual. That could care less about us or dorm cleanliness and welfare. So that being said you think your short staffed now. Go ahead and put us back on 8 hr shifts cause your rosters r gonna get alot shorter

  8. C. O. on January 17th, 2016 9:31 am

    There simply is no logic to this proposal. The idea that contraband is being introduced do to staff being fatigued is the most ubsurd idea I have ever heard. On top of that 12 hour shifts gives us way more time off with our families also it easier to take leave compared to 8 hours. Then we come to the facts of bang in’s, some individuals have trouble coming to work 2 out of 7 days of a week so you expecting them to come for 5 days? All this proposal is ensuring is that the officers that actually come to work and do their jobs will suffer. Also if this is approved you can go ahead and add on to your jobs needed for hire instead of 700 positions might as well double or triple that number. What your then going to run into is having completely new staff running higher custody prisons… You think contraband is bad now? I forget the state doesn’t seem to care about its employees opinions anymore it’s more about the inmates now.

  9. Jules on January 17th, 2016 8:44 am

    The 12 hour shift that DOC works is 3 on 2 off 2 on 3 off. I Worked the night shift. And loved them. Especially great to be brand new and know you will have weekends off! Instead of waiting years to have them. Every other weekend you are off. I wonder if anybody had any firms complete surveys when we were all on 8’s. Do they realize that 16 hours were being worked by many, EVERYDAY on all shifts. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Do they realize we were ghosting positions? To cut most of the Overtime. We were ghosting positions because we had so many vacancies because guidelines required DOC to carry a large lapse factor. We were about 3 months into the 12’s before anybody realized we were ghosting positions. Again the 12 hour shifts was not set up to have a lapse factor but that is how it was run. They have lift the lapse. Now we cant get new staff to stay because you are being pulled so many different ways. Or the TEA comes in and is out and about on the yard being trained and once they are certified, they are confined to the officer’s station. And sometime they realize they were not cut out to be in Corrections because of an incident that happens. They quit because that wasn’t what they had expected. It was or is happening at every institution in some fashion at some point. EAP is up because our personal life is no longer ours. Everything we do is under scrutiny, on and off the job. (Cameras, audio, Facebook, you offended someone by what’s on YOUR vehicle, etc). Not only do we have to worry about our back with the inmates, we have to worry about whether the next officer has your back if something happens. And GIGI, you maybe onto something with these inmates in their non-violent crimes. I have a few of them I would definitely like to be let out to be your neighbor. They ARE non violent offenders. That is really all I can say about them in a positive manner. It sure is easy to pass judgement and you have not walked behind them gates. However with that being said, there is inmates that never get in trouble and there should be something to assist them in being released early. There are major changes coming with DOC. To make it better is all great. I feel pretty positive that more money will bring more people wanting to hire on. However, not having weekends off or having them once a month is enough to deter them from applying or staying. We want staff hired that will want to stay and make a career of it.

  10. Roderick Yost on January 14th, 2016 8:25 pm

    All of you who think that us going back to 8 hours is going to be more beneficial to our staff, but what all of you are not understanding is that we are not going to be going back to 8 hour shifts. We will be going back to working 16 hour shifts like we did years ago. so good job Rick Scott and Julie Jones. Thanks for giving us less time with our families. This is the reward we get for the hard work that we do. So We lose 8 hours extra of pay a month. We have to drive more to work. so there we are wasting more gas. So yes… as soon as we go to 8 hour shifts, go ahead and add one more position to that cause I’m out.

  11. David Huie Green on January 14th, 2016 8:22 pm

    “Almost 1/2 are in for non-violent crimes. Non violent means most likely the person is not a threat to society.”

    If someone steals all you own, that may be nonviolent but is a threat to society, especially if he has been caught, convicted, “punished” time after time.

    Selling poison to children and fools is nonviolent but needs to be stopped by any means necessary.

    Many nonviolent crimes still hurt people. People ARE society. The criminal people even hurt themselves ~ especially if we decide we have to protect ourselves because someone who only cares for criminals won’t.

    Society WILL be destroyed if predators aren’t stopped.

    David for discernment

  12. james on January 14th, 2016 11:44 am

    Ok I, and many of my coworkers love the twelve hour shifts. We do have more time with our families and we have built our lives around this STOP changing things for us every time we turn around it’s ridicules. Some of us work two to three jobs to make it by on what we make me included but now this going to make me have to find a different career which I don’t want to do. I enjoy what we do to a degree I believe it has a great purpose and it keeps me home with my son but looks like daddy’s going to have to go out of town in order to provide for my family’s way of life.

  13. c.w. on January 14th, 2016 3:56 am

    You have to give scott and his pet idiot credit, the are consistently wrong. What the correction officer’s need is a livable salary.

  14. C.O.Myself on January 14th, 2016 3:30 am

    GIGI are you a Scott supporter all he has done since he has come in is cut the budget.D.O.C isn’t sentencing them to their time they are literally letting them almost do whatever they want now in prison with no consequences for their actions all in an effort to get them out quicker.It’s getting more and more dangerous to the point sometime soon something very bad is going to happen.It’s not good for us or the public when they don’t fear prison in the least anymore.What good is hiring 700 people when thousands quit when it goes back to 8 hours the turn over is so bad out of those 700 to get 150 to make the 2 year mark will be a miracle.

  15. Gigi on January 13th, 2016 9:57 pm

    Florida can not sustain the population in prison. We incarcerate too many for too long. The budget nor the environment it creates can sustain it. There is no reason why we should have over 101,000 incarcerated. Almost 1/2 are in for non-violent crimes. Non violent means most likely the person is not a threat to society. Other alternatives should be used. Ger rid of the 85% rule. Get rid of the mandatory sentences, Change the sentencing guidelines. CUT the DOC budget. Don’t reward the department for bad behavior. Obviously something is broken, FIX IT.

  16. C.O.Myself on January 13th, 2016 6:42 pm

    Being an officer myself 12 hours are not a problem we went to 12 to solve the staffing problem that we were having on 8 hour shifts its all about money. I have been on for ten years and had a raise my first year of 3% then came the employee contribution to our retirement of 3% raise gone then a change in tax code of 2% so I make 2% less then when I started 10 years ago.Any new officer off the street makes what I do. Everyone working with the department need to voice our opinion in the polls and also let these government officials here our real complaint not having more time off and every other weekend cause that is burning us out. Please go to flsenate.gov and let Mr. Greg Evers know how we feel.

  17. john on January 13th, 2016 5:23 pm

    Sounds like some commits on this forum are from CO’s and they would like to keep their 12hr. shift. I used to work hours like that when I worked in construction, but now I don’t miss it one bit, 8hrs a day is enough for me. I agree with 20yearsonthejob many of these young kids were probably short changed growing up, many didn’t have a daddy to put their arm around them and tell them he loved them, or pat them on the back and encouraged them when the did something good, or take them fishing or camping, or tell them about Jesus. This is why America is in trouble with our youth!

  18. Mike on January 13th, 2016 4:11 pm

    I laugh at the comments from people who say 12 hour shifts would allow more time with their families. Maybe some of you should try this schedule. It’s brutal. I worked in corrections with these 12 hour shifts. 4 on/4 off and basically during those 4 days on all you do is work and sleep. And then the day after your days on you decompress because of the stress and nature of the job. Why do think so many CO’s with PTSD and suicide’s. Spare me the window dressing comments about being able to spend more time with my family. I lost my family because of this job.

    I dare any of you to try it.

  19. WHISPERJET on January 13th, 2016 3:52 pm


  20. Bill on January 13th, 2016 2:42 pm

    It’s a good thing Julie jones and Rick Scott don’t run county corrections they would have blamed the flood and the jail blowing up on the officers because they have always worked twelve hour shifts.

  21. 20yearsonthejob on January 13th, 2016 1:13 pm

    After being on the job for 20 years, I have see it all. People don’t seem to
    understand, the same things that are happening in the public world also happen inside the prison. The world has gotten uglier. There is no respect from the younger generation, for anything, police, rules or each other. These young people have no work ethic, no future goals and no need for any education. And this is what officers deal with daily. These new inmates are coming into prison and acting just like they did on the outside, the very reason they are now in prison. This is the reason for all the assaults, on staff and inmates alike. My generation has failed our children. They were raised with no morals, values or self respect. Everyday I am approached by older convicts that are fed up with the young ones always causing problems. Not officers working 12 hour shifts, not officers being tired or not evening working understaffed, because regardless of how tired or understaffed we are the majority of staff still do a good job. We take pride in the work we do and we keep the inmates safe and as healthy as possible. People need to raise your kids, teach them right from wrong. Its not your parents job, the neighbors job or the states job. Take interest in your children and keep them out of prison. It’s not a right of passage or anything to be proud of to have a child in prison.

  22. cj on January 13th, 2016 12:11 pm

    the 12 hour shifts are great for the officers and also for their families – lots more quality time able to be spent together – if they were properly staffed and not working overtime or having to do the work of several officers

  23. Anonymous on January 13th, 2016 11:33 am

    @ Dan- Well said! Correctional Officers are way underpaid for what they have to put up with on a daily basis-not mention, no raise in years. Unless you have worked in that environment or have a spouse that has, you will never understand the crap that CO’s have to put up with.

  24. Leosupporter on January 13th, 2016 9:44 am

    They are definitely going to need to hire more staff because a lot of officers will most likely quit because of going to 8 hour shifts. I do not believe that officers are fatigued from 12 hour shifts. Working 12 hour shifts they have more time to spend with their families. Not only that the officers will get a pay cut. They don’t get paid enough as it is. It’s a sad world we live in when the inmate’s safety and well-being comes before the officers.

  25. Davis on January 13th, 2016 8:21 am

    Maybe they wouldn’t be so overworked of their were more officers. 12 hour shifts allow officers more time with their families and more continuity in shifts worked without fear of overtime.

  26. Kevin Enfinger on January 13th, 2016 8:08 am

    sounds like we have another idiot in office

  27. Dan on January 13th, 2016 7:05 am

    The only thing the department of corrections has done good for their officers in almost ten years is put them on twelve hour shifts. This is not the reason for your contraband problem,the problem all boils down to the state will not pay a decent wage the officers have not had a raise in nine years. New employees get trained and leave to work somewhere else. Therefore we spend all of our time and money training new staff for nothing pay the people a decent wage and most of this will be solved. Not to mention the fact that Julie jones had her cronies come to the prison and take a survey and lie to us telling us not to worry we are not going back to eight hour shifts. We all new it was a lie we they said it because we are use to being lied to and treated like we are disposable. going back to eight hours shifts will cause us to lose eight hours of pay per month not a good start to fixing your contraband problem

  28. chris in Molino on January 13th, 2016 5:23 am

    So there are cover ups, brutality by guards, and all that contraband coming into prisons because guards are tired and overworked ?

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