WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Union leader: Corrections officers’ jobs during pandemic ‘a living hell’


Play Audio

At Lowell Correctional north of Ocala, at least 969 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and 54 staff members. Photo: FDC

Stay up to date on coronavirus coverage: Listen to WMFE on your radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” or “WMFE” and you’ll be connected.

In Florida prisons, more than 12,000 inmates and 2,000 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus. At least 59 inmates and two officers have died.

Jimmy Baiardi is State Corrections Chapter president with Florida Police Benevolent Association. He has heard from hundreds of corrections officers.

“And the best way to express their current situation is a living hell,” he said.

He said they’re short-staffed, working for longer hours and on days off, and living with the fear of catching the virus or bringing it home.

“We’ve been fighting for hazard pay,” Baiardi said. “The officers have been asking. And these officers, they probably have the worst job of all right now, probably in the — I think maybe even in the world.”

The Florida Department of Corrections has announced special measures at prisons with outbreaks. They include mask wearing, isolation, cleaning and broad-based testing.  

But Baiardi says the officers — just like the inmates’ families — don’t think the department has a handle on it.


Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida COVID-19 news, updates on special programs and more. Support our extended coverage.

GET THE LATEST

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes

Reporter

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.

TOP