The chief inspector general of the prison system and most of his top staff would be replaced, prison guards would wear body cameras, a hotline would log abuse claims and five regional oversight boards would conduct unannounced prison inspections under a massive rewrite of the House prison reform bill.
The proposal will be offered Tuesday by House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Carlos Trujillo as an amendment to HB 7131, in an attempt to bridge the gap between a comprehensive Senate bill and the weaker House version. Both bills are a response to allegations of abuse and corruption in Florida’s prison system.
“This bill is taking us 80 percent of the way there, but it is a work in progress,’’ Trujillo told the Herald/Times of his proposal, filed late Monday. “There are other things that can’t be addressed in one bill, but it’s a start.”
Trujillo said he was motivated to revise the House proposal after testimony from inmate families and prison reform advocates who pleaded with the House to strengthen its legislation. It will be voted on by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
The proposal envisions a wholesale review of all hiring practices, employee retention policies and employee training, Trujillo said. It requires that the state create five regional oversight boards, staffed by state employees whose terms would last no more than four years, and the goal would be to increase oversight and accountability at the troubled agency.