The Reform Alliance sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday urging him to adapt a revised safety plan to better protect those on parole and probation and law enforcement officers.
The plan, coined SAFER Supervision Plan, calls for the state to enact several dramatic measures including suspending arrests and incarcerations for technical violations, suspending fines and fees, and releasing inmates who can be eligible for supervision.
Additionally, the plan suggests alternatives to in-person supervision conditions and extra precautions for both the supervisors and those being supervised.
With many jails and prisons operating well over capacity with cramped and unsanitary conditions, correctional facilities have become epicenters of coronavirus illness and death,” the revised plan said. “As of early May, four of the five biggest U.S. coronavirus hotspots were prisons. And, the rate of COVID-19 spread and infection will continue to increase behind bars unless essential prevention and containment measures are implemented.”
As of Monday, the Department of Corrections reported 57 new inmate cases and a death in Florida’s prison system over the weekend.
In all, at least one death has been reported in eight Florida prisons. The facilities include Blackwater River Correctional Facility with seven deaths; Sumter Correctional Institution with three deaths; and Everglades Correctional Institution with two deaths.
Positive cases of COVID-19 climbed from 1,608 to 1,665 over the weekend, according to the most recent data Monday. The bulk of which was found in the Everglades Correctional Institution. The facility has 61 total inmate cases.
“By prioritizing public safety and public health, this plan provides states with another tool to safely reopen and reduces the threat of the virus to supervised and incarcerated populations, law enforcement and correctional officers, and communities as a whole,” the plan concluded.
A copy of the letter can be found online.
Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.