The Florida Legislature
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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Corrections Experiences Turnover and Vacancies, But Performance Not Diminished, Report No. 07-15, February 2007
 
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  • The department has experienced significant correctional officer and medical staff turnover that has increased its training and medical costs.  At the end of Fiscal Year 2005‑06, the department had approximately 500 (5%) correctional officer vacancies, and it had more than 200 vacant nurse, physician, and dentist career service positions at times during the year.  The department attributes this turnover to the rural location of most prisons, stressful working conditions, and salary competition.  The Legislature has increased correctional officer salaries, but many counties continue to offer higher salaries to their corrections staff.
  • When officers leave shortly after they are trained, the state loses the dollars it has spent training them.  While state law requires such officers to reimburse the state for training costs, the department has not routinely collected these repayments.
  • Federal courts have mandated that states provide at least minimum levels of inmate health care.  Because the department is having difficulty filling career service medical positions, particularly nurses, it is using higher-cost other personal services (OPS) positions and healthcare contract agencies to provide mandatory health coverage.
  • Despite vacant correctional officer positions, measures of prison security remain largely unchanged, and the department is meeting its critical complement in prison staffing.  Because the department does not use a consistent, reliable method for determining security staffing needs, it may have more correctional officer positions than necessary to run the prison system.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Security and Institutional Operations
Health Services
Department of Corrections
Community Corrections

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 09-07 Steps to Control Prison Inmate Health Care Costs Have Begun to Show Savings, published in January 2009.
  • Report No. 08-20 Corrections’ Contraband Effort Is Sound; Cell Phone Penalties and Warden Consistency Are Needed, published in April 2008.
  • Report No. 07-17 Higher Priority Should Be Given to Transition Services to Reduce Inmate Recidivism, published in February 2007.
  • Report No. 07-16 Some Inmate Family Visitation Practices Are Not Meeting the Legislature’s Intent, published in February 2007.
  • Report No. 07-14 Corrections Rehabilitative Programs Effective, But Serve Only a Portion of the Eligible Population, published in February 2007.
  • Report No. 07-13 Department of Corrections Zero Tolerance Policy Increases Offender Scrutiny But Is Not Based on Risk to Public Safety, published in February 2007.
  • Report No. 00-23 Review of the Department of Corrections, published in December 2000.
  • Report No. 98-69 Follow-up Report on the Department of Corrections' Correctional Officer Staffing, published in February 1999
  • Report No. 95-28 Policy Review of the Department of Corrections' Correctional Officers Staffing, published on January 10, 1996.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
e-mail address: oppaga@oppaga.fl.gov


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