MIAMI
10/15/2012 03:11 pm ET | Updated Oct 15, 2012

Florida To Completely Privatize Juvenile Correctional Facilities

In an effort to reduce costs, Florida's state-run residential programs for juveniles will soon be completely privatized.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice announced Monday that the state will relinquish control of the five remaining public youth residential centers by October 2013.

“These programs offer unique services and facilities that should be maintained. We are therefore committed to an orderly transition from public to private operation for the benefit of our employees and the youth in our care.” said DJJ secretary Wansley Walters.

Citing significantly reduced state funding, the DJJ in cooperation with courts have incarcerated fewer minors in recent years, using their facilities instead for offenders with the highest risk of recidivism.

A measure earlier this year that was to privatize all adult correctional facilities south of Orlando narrowly failed in the Florida Senate despite the stalwart support of Gov. Rick Scott and the majority of the Republican-led state legislature.

About 95 percent of Florida's youth residential facilities for underaged offenders are now privately run. An estimated 213 employees at the five detention centers will be affected by the move.

CLARIFICATION: Only the state's residential facilities are being privatized, while juvenile detention centers remain run by the county or the state depending on location.

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