Flooding, staff shortages lead to closing of 3 state prisons in Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Corrections is temporarily closing several North Florida prisons due to flooding at one facilty and staffing shortages in the others.

Employees will be reassigned to neighboring facilities, the agency said in a statement issued Friday.

Cross City Correctional Institution was evacuated on Aug. 7 because of flooding, the statement said. Baker Correctional Institution and New River Correctional Institution will also be temporarily shuttered to “ensure safe and secure" facilities.

The agency said staff members will not lose their jobs or rank since the measures being taken are temporary. The closures “will not result in the early release of inmates," the statement said.

The prison system is working to address staffing issues by transitioning from 12-hour shifts to 8.5-hour shifts, which is a recommendation from national experts, the statement said.

The agency is also offering $1,000 hiring bonuses at institutions with a 10% or hire staff vacancy rate, increasing the rate of pay to $33,500 for non-certified correctional officer trainees, and hiring part-time certified officers, the statment said.