Florida’s entire prison system, comprised of 97,000 inmates, is on lockdown due to unspecified threats of uprisings, Florida Department of Corrections officials confirmed Thursday.
The Miami Herald reports that the state’s prisons “were on a system-wide lockdown,” meaning that all educational, rehabilitation, vocational, ministry, and recreation programs are suspended until further notice.
Inmates will be confined to their cells or dorms, except for meals, until the Department of Corrections lifts the lockdown.
The decision to institute a statewide lockdown Thursday came after the agency announced Wednesday that weekend visitation would be canceled at all 50 major institutions, in addition to the state’s re-entry centers, work camps, and annexes. WFTV reports that Florida has a total of 151 correctional centers.
A spokeswoman said at the time that “basic privileges” would not be affected by the cancellations.
The agency said that they have received “credible intelligence” about several inmates’ plans to cause uprisings.
“Everything we are doing is based on the safety of the institutions, the staff, and the inmates,’’ said Michelle Glady, a spokesperson for Florida Department of Corrections.
A “Millions for Prisoners’ Human Rights March on Washington” set to take place Saturday in Washington, DC, is being advertised on multiple social media platforms, including a Facebook group that boasts more than 3,800 members. “IamWE Prison Advocacy Network” is the organization sponsoring the march, but it is not clear which person is behind it.
The event is billed as a way to raise public awareness about prison overcrowding and human rights violations against prisoners in corrections facilities across the country.
Glady said the “credible intelligence” the department has received says the uprisings could be coordinated to take place at the same time as the march.
Florida’s prison system is the third-largest in the U.S., trailing California and Texas.