Jefferson Correctional Institution will officially stay open

WCTV reports:

Tallahassee – Rep. Leonard Bembry, D-Greenville says, “At this point in time, it’s probably official that JCI
is saved.”

Rep. Bembry has been in the fight to save Jefferson Correctional Institution since the beginning, when in
January the Department of Corrections announced it was closing seven prisons and four work camps
across the state of Florida. JCI was on that list, but not anymore.

In a Chief Budget Chair Meeting at the capitol, JCI was officially thrown a lifeline when Governor Rick
Scott and the Secretary of the Department of Corrections, Ken Tucker, agreed to keep the prison open.

Wendy Bitner is one of the lobbyists who fought for JCI at the capitol. She says, “The department agreed
that it would make a significant negative impact on our county and decided to keep it open.”

That negative impact would have translated into millions. County leaders say they would have taken a
more than $30 million hit if they lost JCI. But Rep. Bembry says no amount of money can compare to the
amount of spirit of those who fought to save their livelihood.

He says, “I have never seen a community pull together like Jefferson County did and not just the people,
the business community, the leadership and of course the prison itself.”

He goes on to say that keeping JCI open was always less about the money and more about preserving
the lives of those who need Jefferson Correctional to survive.

The Department of Corrections budget will now include funding JCI.



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