Florida Prisons Increase Inmate Intakes From County Jails As COVID-19 Restrictions Relax

April 7, 2021

The Florida Department of Corrections has increased the number of inmates received each week from Florida counties.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, FDC limited the number of inmates received into state prisons from county facilities after their convictions. The modification to policy allows FDC to increase the number of intakes from county facilities each week and directly addresses the growing backlog of individuals with felony convictions awaiting transfer to prison from county jails.

Escambia County spokesperson Laura Coale said Escambia County will be able to transport about 14 inmates to state prisons per week.

“We recognize the need is present to increase the number of intakes from county jails to prisons as courts begin to work through the case back log. This is an important step to fulfilling our public safety mission statewide,” said FDC Secretary Mark Inch. “We have developed safety protocols and appreciate our partners at the detention facilities and the sheriff’s offices for their collaboration and adherence. Together we have been able to take a measured and safe approach that prioritizes the well-being of our inmates and staff.”

“Sheriffs appreciate the efforts of the Florida Department of Corrections to return to Pre-COVID levels of intake,” said Florida Sheriffs Association President and Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Shultz. “Sheriffs have worked closely with the Department during this pandemic and corrections staff have developed appropriate safety protocols which allow for a safe return to normal intake procedures.”

DC’s intake procedure requires a documented negative county-administered rapid COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of transfer, heightened medical screening by FDC health personnel, and a second negative FDC-administered rapid COVID-19 test result upon receipt at the institution. If all requirements are fulfilled, the inmate will be processed and integrated into the general population. If any one of the requirements is not fulfilled, the inmate and all inmates who traveled to reception center with them will be returned to the originating county facility.

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