Prison designed to reintegrate inmates opens in Polk City

03/20/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Today in Polk City, the first prison in Florida to focus on reintegrating prisoners in society had its grand opening.

Demilly Correctional Institution is a 350-person, all-male facility, that was formerly a Department of Juvenile Justice facility acquired by the Department of Corrections.

Gretl Plessinger is a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections Office. She was in Polk City today for the opening ceremonies.

Florida joins states such as California, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, which also have re-entry programs.

Walt McNeil, secretary for the Department of Corrections, stunned lawmakers yesterday when he said that if he were to cut his budget by 15 percent, as requested in an exercise by Gov. Charlie Crist, the state would have to close prisons, release inmates and cut treatment programs.

Crist yesterday froze 15 percent of state spending. But under the budget the governor unveiled earlier late last month, the Department of Corrections would not have to cut nearly that amount.

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