Across Florida
What's happening on other political blogs?

Scott locks down ‘Lockup’ filming in Panhandle prison

by Dara Kam | August 18th, 2011

Santa Rosa C.I. Lt. Andrew Williams and film crew

More than a week after they began filming at a Panhandle prison, Gov. Rick Scott sent MSNBC‘s “Lockup” crew packing.

Scott’s office this week canceled the contract. Department of Corrections Ed Buss had agreed to allow the film crew to shoot at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution in Milton for about two months. The department would have received about $110,000 for the disruption.

Buss lacked the authority to sign the contract, Scott spokesman Brian Burgess said, because it did not deal with the day-to-day operations of the state prison system.

Late last week, Buss’s office issued a press release touting the filming of the reality show in which prisoners, often heavily-tattooed, reveal what life is like behind bars.

A team from 44 Blue, the production company in charge of the series about life behind bars, began filming last week at the Milton facility. The series was scheduled to run sometime next year.

Buss worked with the production company while at his previous post as Indiana’s prisons chief.

“I have no qualms about them coming into our prisons. I’m proud of our staff and how well our facilities are run, and I hope this will help Floridians understand the challenges we face with our inmate population, as well as the benefits prisons provide to their communities through our programs and re-entry efforts,” Buss said in a press release last week. The release said Buss gave the film crew “unprecedented access” to inmates and staff who agreed to be on film.

Sources within Buss’s office said the warden sent the film crew home yesterday after hearing from Scott’s office.

Buss failed to vet the contract with Scott’s executive staff before signing it, Burgess said.

“The feeling is that it was outside the scope of the Department of Corrections purview to engage the state in an entertainment-related contract,” Burgess said. “Right now the “Lockup” contract is locked up and I don’t’ know if it’s going to be unlocked. It’s not going forward at this point.”

The contract was canceled the same week the department rescinded requests for proposals for privatizing health services in all of the state’s prisons.

Tags: , , , ,

7 Responses to “Scott locks down ‘Lockup’ filming in Panhandle prison”

  1. Treky Says:

    Could it be that Gov. Slick Scott is afraid that Floridians will see what the life of a Florida Correctional Officer is really like? He knows that the minimum wage burger flippers that will be flooding GEO with job applications in South Florida, when the REAL Correctional Officers are terminated, will not be able to handle the job. As I said before, I’m so glad that I live in North Florida when the inmates start coming over the fence in South Florida.

  2. AntiTallahassee Says:

    Buss failed to vet the contract with Scott’s executive staff before signing it, Burgess said.

    Buss forgot to promise a cut to the behind the scene bureaucrats in Tally. You’re not in Indiana anymore.

  3. Jupiter Guy Says:

    Skeletor just doesn’t want the people to see what his next home looks like.

  4. judyT Says:

    If the truth be known, the filming and interviewing at Santa Rosa should have started in the confinement areas where an inmate was gassed with chemicals 5 times in one day and his skin burned for 3 days afterward. Never was he moved to a cell that didn’t have the stench of the chemical residue. He’s been deprived food, beverage and recreation and he is STILL there dealing with inhumane treatment of apathetic officers. The problem with institutions in Florida is the lack of transparency. Please take a moment to sign the petition asking the Governor to Reinstate Parole in Florida at and encourage family and friends to do the same. Florida has the third largest prison population in the country and no parole. This impacts over 100,000 families. Let’s do a film on the horrific sentencing and abhorrent treatment.

  5. criminals in charge Says:

    Just another professional bureaucrat selling his services to the highest bidder. No tellin how much of this $110,000. he got. He done it in Indiana so he’s been getting kick backs from them all along prpbably! Rick Scott’s eamils a re disappearing and the best people he could find to hire in the whole USA are nothing more than bureaucratic loons out to make a buck off others suffering! He sould fire this sucker and let him walk back to Indiana and giv ehis job to the highest bidding convict! It;s no different. The convicts are running the system anyway!

  6. Rotten Scott Says:

    Rick Scott is helping us put one more nail in his coffin – he lost my vote !!! I had great hopes that Scott would be a good governor – but every time I believe in him, I am disappointed. Where is the transparency that he talks about ? I hope Buss does not leave. He was good for Indiana and he will be GREAT IN FLORIDA. If any one needs to leave, it is Scott.

  7. Darrent Says:

    Nice info dara karam…

Florida political tweeters
Video: Politics stories