The constant volume of suspicious inmate deaths in Florida’s prisons prompted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Tuesday to ask legislators for 17 additional investigators and $2.3 million.
The money, which was not included in Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget, is needed to allow the agency to comply with a newly-updated agreement between FDLE and the Florida Department of Corrections, said Jennifer Cook Pritt, FDLE assistant commissioner.
Under the agreement, signed by new FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen and DOC Secretary Julie Jones earlier this month, FDLE must investigate all prison deaths in which medical personnel are not in attendance to determine if criminal activity was involved.
FDLE expects to investigate at least 60 prison deaths next year, based on the fact that the agency investigated 15 suspicious deaths in the last quarter of 2014, Pritt said.
The new “Memorandum of Understanding” updates a previous agreement between former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey and former DOC Secretary Michael Crews which required law enforcement to investigate all deaths, even those in which inmates died of cancer or other natural causes. Download 2015 MOU - FDLE and DOC Inves of Specified Incidents- Signed (2) (1)