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Multiple Florida Prisons to Close, Redirect Inmates as State Struggles With Staff Shortages

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Prison riot - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.08.2021
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Citing state analysts, Florida outlets warned earlier this month that inmate populations in the Sunshine State are expected to increase around 7.1% during this fiscal year, several months following a sharp decline in prisoners due to COVID-19 pandemic-related releases and a backlog of felony cases that have built up.
The Florida Department of Corrections will soon move to shutter multiple Northern Florida prisons in a last-ditch effort to make up for crippling staff shortages that have resultantly put jail personnel and prisoners at increased risks. 
Jim Baiardi, president of the Police Benevolent Association's Corrections Chapter, revealed to the Miami Herald that Mark Inch, secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, will be closing down Baker Correctional Institution in Sanderson, Florida, and New River Correctional Institution in Florida's Bradford County. 
Cross City Correctional Institution in Dixie County, Florida, has been closed as of late due to flooding and will continue to remain shuttered for an indeterminate amount of time. 
Presently, the Florida prison system has around 5,000 vacancies for correctional officers, according to the outlet. 
Baiardi noted that Inch "is going to be closing some prisons that are close to the other, temporarily, so he can redirect the staff and inmates to places where they can safely run the institutions for now." 
Despite the move, the union representative does not believe it will make much of an impact, as it does little to address the lack of manpower. 
According to Baiardi, some 1,200 corrections officers could be moved to other facilities. 
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