The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) has evacuated over 4,100 inmates from its state prisons. Following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Michael, thousands of inmates were moved from two prison facilities badly impacted by the storm.
But families of inmates complain of the poor conditions in prisons most damaged by the hurricane.
Unfortunately, the prisoners were not evacuated before the storm. They were only moved four days after the damaging hurricane. Spokeswoman for FDC, Michelle Gladys, said it was not possible to move inmates immediately because of bad roads.
She added that officials were only able to transport Florida’s prisoners when the roads became passable and safe for inmate transport.
Relatives of Inmates Say Authorities Are Lying About Food & Water at Impacted Prisons
Gladys also clarified that officials did not know Hurricane Michael would be as impactful as it had been. She said the prison facilities were constructed with concrete and no one would expect the hurricane would damage them so easily.
According to Gladys, the prisoners would have been moved earlier if officials knew it would be so detrimental.
There are up to 50 correctional facilities in Florida. These include government owned and private prison facilities. The storm wreaked a lot of damage in North Florida where most of the big prisons are located.
Almost all the 4,000+ inmates were moved from two facilities situated in this region.
Authorities said inmates were moved due to big structural damage, including:
- 2,600 were moved from Gulf Correctional Institution
- 305 others were evacuated from Calhoun Correctional Institution
- 959 prisoners were evacuated from a private prison, the Bay Correctional Facility in Tallahassee
According to the Florida prison authorities, the roofs and security infrastructure of the evacuated facilities were significantly damaged.
However, no staff or inmates sustained any injuries during Hurricane Michael, the department of corrections wrote in a statement. They said all inmates were safe and had ample access to food and water while the storm lasted.
But the relatives and family members of inmates would not agree to this assertion.
Prison Loved Ones Worry: Disrupted Communication at Hurricane Michael Damaged Prisons
Relatives of inmates and employees at the destroyed prison facilities in Florida reveal that the extent of damage is massive. They confirmed the situation at the affected correctional facilities is dismal, with dormitories destroyed and power cut off.
They said food and drinking water are getting scarce. Those remaining at the facilities say they are getting more and more dangerous by the day.
But FDC would not agree with this evaluation, saying food and water was never a problem before inmates were moved out. Glady said:
“We have been through hurricanes before and there are plans in place for an institution not being able to evacuate right away.
After the storm hit we got in there and were able to verify everyone’s wellbeing and bring in extra food and water.”
Gladys noted that people with incarcerated family and friends in prisons impacted by Hurricane Michael must be worried by the disrupted communication. She added that everything would be resolved pretty soon.