Suit aims to block closing of Tampa women's prison
Three inmates, a former inmate and two volunteers filed suit Tuesday against the Department of Corrections, seeking to prevent the state from going ahead with plans to close Hillsborough Correctional Institution in Riverview. The 292-bed prison is the only facility of its kind in Florida: a faith-and-character building prison for women inmates.
Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss included the shutdown of Hillsborough in a so-called consolidation plan to save money, but he has backed away from shutting it down after volunteers and ex-offenders mounted an impressive show of lobbying in the Senate two weeks ago.
One of the two volunteer plaintiffs is 81-year-old Charna Bogdany, a resident of the Sun City Center retirement community near Tampa. "This is such a unique program," said Bogdany, who teaches classes in art and creative writing. "These women are learning they can still be productive citizens. They are good human beings."