Personnel from the Florida National Guard will help reduce overtime and provide relief for officers in the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) under an Executive Order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sept. 9. The Order is intended as a temporary solution to FDC staffing shortages.
Earlier this year, the legislature approved and DeSantis signed a series of incentives including sign-on bonuses and other perks intended to encourage law enforcement personnel to relocate to Florida.
Meanwhile, the FDC is experiencing a severe shortage of correctional officers resulting in the temporary closure of 176 inmate dorms and suspension of 431 supervised work squads, the order said.
“While the incentive package has shown early signs of success, action is needed now to address the present staffing shortage on a temporary short-term basis,” the order said.
Specifically, the order authorizes the Adjutant General to immediately send members of the Guard who are most appropriate to correctional institutions where there is a critical staffing shortage.
All activated members of the Guard will carry out their duties under FDC direction but will remain under the tactical command of the Adjutant General.
“The scope of duties performed by the Guard during the activation shall exclude any direct supervision of inmates except where such supervision occurs as a normal part of manning control stations or when required in an emergency pertaining to safety and security,” the Order said.
Guard members called to assist the FDC will be activated for a period of nine months from the signing of the order or until the FDC declares that it no longer needs the Guard’s support, whichever occurs first.
The Order became effective immediately upon DeSantis’ signature.