Florida prison deficit balloons to $95.2 M

Published On: Feb 13 2013 12:37:06 PM EST
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida prisons are saving money through lower-cost contracts for paper towels, toilet paper and soap while inmates are wearing cheaper shoes in response to a budget deficit that has ballooned to $95.2 million.

Department of Corrections officials told a legislative panel on Wednesday that such internal cost-cutting steps, though, won't be enough to reduce the deficit to zero when the current budget year ends on June 30.

Gov. Rick Scott is asking the Legislature to appropriate $74.8 million to cover most of the deficit. That would leave the department responsible for eliminating the remaining $20.4 million through such actions as trading traditional canvas shoes for cheaper, longer-lasting plastic Crocs.

Corrections Secretary Mike Crews also told lawmakers that health care privatization in South Florida prisons will be completed next month.

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