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The Florida Senate

2004 Florida Statutes

Section 20.315, Florida Statutes 2004

20.315  Department of Corrections.--There is created a Department of Corrections.

(1)  PURPOSE.--The purpose of the Department of Corrections is to protect the public through the incarceration and supervision of offenders and to rehabilitate offenders through the application of work, programs, and services. The goals of the department shall be:

(a)  To protect society by providing incarceration that will support the intentions of established criminal law.

(b)  To ensure that inmates work while they are incarcerated and that the department makes every effort to collect restitution and other monetary assessments from inmates while they are incarcerated or under supervision.

(c)  To work in partnerships with local communities to further efforts toward crime prevention.

(d)  To provide a safe and humane environment for offenders and staff in which rehabilitation is possible. This should include the protection of the offender from victimization within the institution and the development of a system of due process, where applicable.

(e)  To provide appropriate supervision for offenders released on community supervision, based on public safety risks and offender needs, and, in conjunction with the judiciary, public safety agencies, and local communities, develop safe, community-based alternatives.

(f)  To provide programs, which may include academic, vocational, and treatment, to incarcerated offenders and supervised offenders which will prepare them for occupations available in the community.

(g)  To provide library services at correctional institutions, which includes general and law library services.

(h)  To provide judges with effective evaluative tools and information for use in sentencing decisions.

(i)  To provide the level of security in institutions commensurate with the custody requirements and management needs of inmates.

(j)  To ensure that the rights and needs of crime victims are recognized and met, including the need for the victim to be timely notified of the release or escape of an inmate.

(2)  LEGISLATIVE INTENT.--It is the intent of the Legislature that:

(a)  The department focus its attention on the removal of barriers that could prevent the inmate's successful return to society while supervising and incarcerating offenders at a level of security commensurate with the danger they present to the public.

(b)  The department work in partnership with communities in the construction of facilities and the development of programs to offenders.

(c)  The department develop a comprehensive program for the treatment of youthful offenders and other special needs offenders committed to the department, including female, elderly, and disabled offenders.

(d)  The department pursue partnerships with other governmental entities and private industry for the purpose of furthering mutual goals and expanding work and educational opportunities for offenders.

(3)  SECRETARY OF CORRECTIONS.--The head of the Department of Corrections is the Secretary of Corrections. The secretary is appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate, and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The secretary is responsible for planning, coordinating, and managing the corrections system of the state. The secretary shall ensure that the programs and services of the department are administered in accordance with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations, with established program standards, and consistent with legislative intent. The secretary shall identify the need for and recommend funding for the secure and efficient operation of the state correctional system.

(a)  The secretary shall appoint a deputy secretary. The deputy secretary shall be directly responsible to the secretary and shall serve at the pleasure of the secretary.

(b)  The secretary shall appoint a general counsel and an inspector general, who are exempt from part II of chapter 110 and are included in the Senior Management Service.

(c)  The secretary may appoint assistant secretaries, directors, or other such persons that he or she deems are necessary to accomplish the mission and goals of the department, including, but not limited to, the following areas of program responsibility:

1.  Security and institutional operations, which shall provide inmate work programs, offender programs, security administration, emergency operations response, and operational oversight of the regions.

2.  Health services, which shall be headed by a physician licensed under chapter 458 or an osteopathic physician licensed under chapter 459, or a professionally trained health care administrator with progressively responsible experience in health care administration. This individual shall be responsible for the delivery of health services to offenders within the system and shall have direct professional authority over such services.

3.  Community corrections, which shall provide for coordination of community alternatives to incarceration and operational oversight of community corrections regions.

4.  Administrative services, which shall provide budget and accounting services within the department, including the construction and maintenance of correctional institutions, human resource management, research, planning and evaluation, and technology.

5.  Program, transition, and postrelease services, which shall provide for the direct management and supervision of all departmental programs, including the coordination and delivery of education and job training to the offenders in the custody of the department. In addition, this program shall provide for the direct management and supervision of all programs that furnish transition assistance to inmates who are or have recently been in the custody of the department, including the coordination, facilitation, and contract management of prerelease and postrelease transition services provided by governmental and private providers, including faith-based service groups.

(4)  REGIONS.--The department shall plan and administer its program of services for community corrections, security, and institutional operations through regions.

(5)  ANNUAL REPORTING.--The department shall report annually to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives recounting its activities and making recommendations for improvements to the performance of the department.


(a)1.  The Florida Corrections Commission is hereby created. The primary focus of the commission shall be on corrections; however, in those instances in which the policies of other components of the criminal justice system affect corrections, the commission shall advise and make recommendations.

2.  The commission shall consist of nine members appointed by the Governor subject to confirmation by the Senate. Members of the commission shall serve terms of 4 years each. Members must be appointed in such a manner as to equitably represent all geographic areas of the state. Each member of the commission must be a citizen and registered voter of the state. A member of the commission shall represent the public safety needs of the state as a whole and may not subordinate the needs of the state to those of any particular area of the state. The commission's membership should, to the extent possible, contain persons who are knowledgeable about construction, health care, information technology, education, business, food services, law, and inmate and youthful offender rehabilitation and services.

3.  The commission is assigned to the office of the Secretary of Corrections for administrative and fiscal accountability purposes, but it shall otherwise function independently of the control and direction of the Department of Corrections.

(b)  The primary functions of the commission are to:

1.  Recommend major correctional policies for the Governor's approval, and assure that approved policies and any revisions thereto are properly executed.

2.  Periodically review the status of the state correctional system and recommend improvements therein to the Governor and the Legislature.

3.  Annually perform an in-depth review of community-based intermediate sanctions and recommend to the Governor and the Legislature intergovernmental approaches through the Community Corrections Partnership Act for planning and implementing such sanctions and programs.

4.  Perform an in-depth evaluation of the annual budget request of the Department of Corrections, the comprehensive correctional master plan, and the tentative construction program for compliance with all applicable laws and established departmental policies. The commission may not consider individual construction projects, but shall consider methods of accomplishing the department's goals in the most effective, efficient, and businesslike manner.

5.  Routinely monitor the financial status of the Department of Corrections to assure that the department is managing revenue and any applicable bond proceeds responsibly and in accordance with law and established policy.

6.  Evaluate, at least quarterly, the efficiency, productivity, and management of the Department of Corrections, using performance and production standards developed by the department under former subsection (18).

7.  Provide public education on corrections and criminal justice issues.

8.  Report to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Governor by November 1 of each year.

9.  Resolve disputes between the Department of Corrections and the contractors for the private correctional facilities entered into under chapter 957 when a contractor proposes to waive a rule, policy, or procedure concerning operation standards.

(c)  The commission or a member thereof may not enter into the day-to-day operation of the Department of Corrections and is specifically prohibited from taking part in:

1.  The awarding of contracts by the department.

2.  The selection by the department of a consultant or contractor or the prequalification by the department of any individual consultant or contractor. However, the commission may recommend to the Secretary of Corrections standards and policies governing the procedure for selection and prequalification of consultants and contractors.

3.  The selection by the department of a county for a specific project.

4.  The selection by the department of a specific location for a correctional facility.

5.  The employment, promotion, demotion, suspension, transfer, or discharge of any departmental personnel.

6.  The enforcement of minimum standards for any county or municipal detention facility.

(d)1.  The chair of the commission shall be selected by the members for a term of 1 year.

2.  The commission shall hold a minimum of four regular meetings annually, and other meetings may be called by the chair upon giving at least 7 days' notice to all members and the public pursuant to chapter 120. Meetings may also be held upon the written request of at least four members, upon at least 7 days' notice of such meeting being given to all members and the public by the chair pursuant to chapter 120. Emergency meetings may be held without notice upon the request of all members. The meetings of the commission shall be held in the central office of the Department of Corrections in Tallahassee unless the chair determines that special circumstances warrant meeting at another location.

3.  A majority of the membership of the commission constitutes a quorum at any meeting of the commission. An action of the commission is not binding unless the action is taken pursuant to an affirmative vote of a majority of the members present, but not fewer than four members of the commission must be present, and the vote must be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

4.  The chair shall cause to be made a complete record of the proceedings of the commission, which record shall be open for public inspection.

(e)  The commission shall appoint an executive director and an assistant executive director, who shall serve under the direction, supervision, and control of the commission. The executive director, with the consent of the commission, shall employ such staff as are necessary to perform adequately the functions of the commission, within budgetary limitations. All employees of the commission are exempt from part II of chapter 110 and serve at the pleasure of the commission. The salaries and benefits of all employees of the commission shall be set in accordance with the Selected Exempt Service rules; however, the commission shall have complete authority for fixing the salaries of the executive director and the assistant executive director.

(f)  Members of the commission are entitled to per diem and travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061

(g)  A member of the commission may not have any interest, direct or indirect, in any contract, franchise, privilege, or other benefit granted or awarded by the department during the term of his or her appointment and for 2 years after the termination of that appointment.

(h)  The commission shall develop a budget pursuant to chapter 216. The budget is not subject to change by the department, but such budget shall be submitted to the Governor along with the budget of the department.


(a)  The secretary shall develop and submit annually to the Legislature a comprehensive departmental budget request.

(b)  The department, consistent with chapter 216, may transfer, as necessary, funds and positions among budget entities to realign appropriations with the revised budget entity designations. Such authorized revisions must be consistent with the intent of the approved operating budget. The department shall periodically review the appropriateness of the budget entity designations and the adequacy of its delegated authority to transfer funds between entities and submit the reviews to the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget. To fulfill this responsibility, the secretary shall have the authority to review, amend, and approve the annual budget requests of all departmental activities.

(8)  PLACEMENT OF OFFENDERS.--The department shall classify its programs according to the character and range of services available for its clients. The department shall place each offender in the program or facility most appropriate to the offender's needs, subject to budgetary limitations and the availability of space.

(9)  DISCHARGE FROM COMMITMENT.--When the law grants to an agent, officer, or administrator of the Department of Corrections the authority to make a discharge from commitment, such authority shall be vested in the Secretary of Corrections or in any agent who, in his or her discretion, the secretary may authorize.

(10)  FORM OF COMMITMENT; NOTICE OF PAROLE VIOLATION.--All commitments shall state the statutory authority therefor. The Secretary of Corrections shall have the authority to prescribe the form to be used for commitments. Nothing in this act shall be construed to abridge the authority and responsibility of the Parole Commission with respect to the granting and revocation of parole. The Department of Corrections shall notify the Parole Commission of all violations of parole conditions and provide reports connected thereto as may be requested by the commission. The commission shall have the authority to issue orders dealing with supervision of specific parolees, and such orders shall be binding on all parties.

(11)  SINGLE INFORMATION AND RECORDS SYSTEM.--There shall be only one offender-based information and records system maintained by the Department of Corrections for the joint use of the department and the Parole Commission. This data system is managed through the Justice Data Center, which is hereby transferred to the department under this act pursuant to a type two transfer authorized under s. 20.06(2). The department shall develop and maintain, in consultation with the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Information Systems Council under s. 943.08, such offender-based information system designed to serve the needs of both the department and the Parole Commission. The department shall notify the commission of all violations of parole and the circumstances thereof.

(12)  TRANSFER OF AUTHORITY.--All statutory functions of the department not otherwise herein assigned to a specific unit of the department are assigned generally to the department and may be allocated and reallocated by the secretary to an authorized unit of the department.

(13)  PURCHASE OF SERVICES.--Whenever possible, the department, in accordance with the established program objectives and performance criteria, may contract for the provision of services by counties, municipalities, nonprofit corporations, and other entities capable of providing needed services, if services so provided are more cost-efficient, cost-effective, or timely than those provided by the department or available to it under existing law.

History.--ss. 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, ch. 75-49; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 78-53; s. 4, ch. 78-323; s. 6, ch. 79-7; s. 65, ch. 79-190; s. 1, ch. 82-46; s. 1, ch. 82-171; s. 3, ch. 83-85; s. 2, ch. 83-265; s. 1, ch. 85-330; s. 6, ch. 85-340; s. 16, ch. 86-183; s. 1, ch. 87-224; s. 1, ch. 87-298; ss. 1, 28, 84, ch. 88-122; s. 3, ch. 90-247; s. 67, ch. 91-45; s. 2, ch. 91-281; s. 3, ch. 92-173; s. 2, ch. 92-310; s. 7, ch. 93-262; s. 1, ch. 94-117; s. 8, ch. 94-209; s. 1320, ch. 95-147; s. 8, ch. 95-325; s. 1, ch. 96-278; s. 6, ch. 96-388; s. 9, ch. 97-194; ss. 20, 21, ch. 98-136; s. 3, ch. 98-251; s. 8, ch. 99-2; s. 1, ch. 99-271; s. 5, ch. 2001-60; s. 1, ch. 2001-110; s. 1, ch. 2004-248.