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Florida prisons could cut visitation days in half under proposed policy change

Photo: FDC
Photo: FDC

For the second time in four years, the Florida Department of Corrections is proposing new rules to cut back on prison visits.

The previous effort stalled amid pushback from a legislative committee.

The FDC wants to require online scheduling of visits days in advance, and to enable some prisons to cut each inmate’s visits from every weekend to every other weekend.

The agency says it's for safety and security.

But Denise Rock of the advocacy group Florida Cares says family members depend on their weekly visits.

"That is how they sustain their relationship, you know," Rock says, "and studies show that people that are incarcerated that receive visits -- that reduces recidivism so they're not returning back to prison and it also helps them behave in prison."

In 2018, a lawyer for the legislative committee that oversees rulemaking told the FDC state law directs it to increase, not decrease, the frequency of visits.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.