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Florida DOC Offers Settlement

In 1988 the Florida Justice Institute filed a class action suit on behalf of PC (Protective Custody) prisoners. The suit challenges the fact that PCs aren't allowed to work, thus can't earn good time which extends their prison sentence; are locked down 23 hours a day, can't smoke, exercise, etc. The suit claims the PCs were being punished for seeking protection.

Florida offered to settle by implementing a $10 million prison plan that would have allowed the PCs to use dayrooms, work and have privileges "as close as possible to the rest of the institution." Prison officials hope that by implementing the changes immediately, they can stop the trial scheduled for December in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Florida DOC attorney claims he fears prison officials will be flooded with PC requests because the conditions will be so "attractive."

Prisoner attorneys say the plan, while an improvement, falls far short of constitutional standards and they plan to take the case to trial.

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