Healthy profits for a private company caused dangerous conditions and inmate injuries at a Florida prison while state officials looked the other way, according to a grand jury report released Monday.
Premier Behavioral Solutions Inc. skimped on staffers and training at its prison in suburban West Palm Beach, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post. Leaders at the Florida Institute for Girls locked inmates in their cells and canceled school because there weren’t enough guards to watch them.
Low-paid staffers did not have enough training to prevent violence and injuries. Officials for the state responded to the critical report and ongoing problems Monday by ending its three-year, $15.6 million contract with Premier. The company will run the prison until a replacement is found.
But before the news media brought attention to injuries and sexual misconduct at the prison last year, state oversight was lax, grand jurors wrote. Unannounced visits were rare. Requirements for staff training were never enforced. The state seemed “unconcerned” with repeat violations, the report says.