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.