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Florida prison deficit balloons to $95.2 M

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Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 3:38 pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida prisons are saving money through lower-cost contracts for paper towels, toilet paper and soap while inmates are wearing cheaper shoes in response to a budget deficit that has ballooned to $95.2 million.

Department of Corrections officials told a legislative panel on Wednesday that such internal cost-cutting steps, though, won't be enough to reduce the deficit to zero when the current budget year ends on June 30.

Gov. Rick Scott is asking the Legislature to appropriate $74.8 million to cover most of the deficit. That would leave the department responsible for eliminating the remaining $20.4 million through such actions as trading traditional canvas shoes for cheaper, longer-lasting plastic Crocs.

Corrections Secretary Mike Crews also told lawmakers that health care privatization in South Florida prisons will be completed next month.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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