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Hard Times: Prisons Battle Maintenance Backlogs


By Dan Hounsell Maintenance & Operations
man's hands on the bars of a prison cell

Time gets the best of institutional and commercial facilities, leading to damaged components and materials, potential health hazards and, often, huge deferred maintenance backlogs. The nation’s prisons are no exception to the ravages of time.

Florida’s prisons are but one example of correctional facilities that need help. State prison wardens recently told lawmakers that their facilities are overrun with violence, dire environmental conditions and poor working conditions — among a great many other things, according to The Ledger.

State prison wardens pleaded with Florida senators to adequately fund the Department of Corrections and help alleviate a variety of dire conditions in their facilities, from maintenance deficits to gang violence epidemics.

Wardens discussed the need to repair and replace the Department of Corrections’ aging facilities and vehicle fleets, citing inadequate maintenance budgets.

Ann Casey, assistant warden at Polk Correctional Institution, had one of the newer facilities at 43 years old. She says things are constantly breaking, from kitchen equipment to leaking roofs, and being added to backlogged to-do lists.

Roof damage has cordoned off dorms at multiple facilities. At Polk, a programming area has been vacant for four years because of unaddressed maintenance needs, Casey says, adding that other facility needs, such as additional security cameras, are also going unaddressed.

Inmates at various prisons have complained about widespread mold issues that they believe result from the leaking roofs, raising what they describe as health hazards and potentially making inmates and staff sick.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions and FacilitiesNet.com.

 

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