Shocking allegations of inmates being denied personal hygiene items such as toilet paper, soap and toothbrushes are emerging from a Florida legislator’s visits to some correctional facilities in the Sunshine State.
State Representative David Richardson (D-Miami Beach) began his tour by visiting the Baker Correctional Institution in Northern Florida in January. There, he found inmates without toilet paper and toothbrushes, so he requested the warden to open a storage unit only feet away to distribute hygiene products to more than 50 inmates.
“It is behavior that is intended to dehumanize them, treating them like an animal,” he told the Miami Herald.
The warden at Baker was “embarrassed,” Richardson said.
The representative then complained to the Florida Department of Corrections. After the complaint, officials “were apologetic and put out an all-points bulletin that this was wrong,” according to ABC News.
But the Baker facility isn’t the only institution where Richardson found negligent behavior. The lawmaker also visited the Tomoka Correctional Institution, near Daytona Beach, for the fourth time Saturday. He found inmates without soap, water, and toilet paper. One cell block contained rats and roaches as well, according to ABC News.
The lawmaker took notes during the trip to Tomoka last weekend and sent them to state prison officials Saturday.
“E1-219 no toilet paper, no pillow. Out of TP since 8 am Friday,’’ he wrote. “E1-218, out of TP since last night… E1-210, no pillow case; roaches and rats a big problem in the cell block… E1-214, no pillow, no soap,” Richardson’s notes, forwarded to the Miami Herald, detailing 37 cells read.