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State to appeal prison health care ruling

Florida Department of Corrections Deputy Secretary Mike Crews said Tuesday that the state will appeal the ruling by a Leon County Circuit Court judge throwing out the state decision to use a budgetary committee to privatize prison health care services.

"The Department disagrees with, and intends to appeal, the ruling issued by the Second Judicial Circuit Court,'' Crews said in a statement. "This ruling creates an anticipated budget shortfall of up to $90 million over the next 18 months.  This will jeopardize other Department needs and legislative budget priorities which could include additional reductions in staffing and program services across the Department.  While we work to resolve this issue the Department will continue to provide constitutionally required healthcare services to inmates."  

Melissa Sellers, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Scott, echoed the sentiment in a statement: 

“This ruling is wrong and puts in jeopardy nearly $90 million over the next two years that could be used to fund critical priorities – including increasing K-12 education funding,'' Sellers said. "We are working with the Department of Corrections to appeal the decision and protect hundreds of other state jobs that the Department could be forced to eliminate if they lose nearly $90 million in expected savings.”