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STARKE, FL -- It's a small, country town where people know people and look out for one another. "I love the people. I really like the town," says one person who lives there.
56 hundred people call Starke home. It's a place so quiet, there hasn't been a murder in three years, but ask anyone here and they will tell you murder is their big business.
"The prisons. That's where everybody works when you talk to them," says Iris Johnson, who lives in Starke.
In the western shadows of Starke, down State Road 16, are some of Florida's most violent criminals. Here, the state runs half a dozen prison facilities.
In all, more than 5,100 inmates a population about as big as Starke.
Just outside of the razor sharp wires is a community within a community. When First Coast News tried to get pictures of this place from the sky, the prisons went on lockdown and our crews were ordered to the ground, even though we were not breaking any laws.
First Coast News has confirmed in the Raiford staff housing area, there are 82 correction workers waiting for a home, 32 waiting for mobile homes and 31 waiting for apartments.
First Coast News asked the Department of Corrections in Tallahassee to talk with us on camera about staff housing out at Raiford.
The Department declined saying it would not interview with us unless we provided them with a list of questions.
First Coast News policy is we do not provide questions in advance. We don't afford the privilege to the Governor, the State Attorney General or the First Lady.
First Coast News did tell the Department of Corrections in numerous emails and phone calls we needed to know the basics of staff housing.
We wanted to know everything from who can or cannot get a house to who is watching over the system. Once again, the Department of Corrections declined.
The Department's recent troubles may be one reason why. Corrections is reportedly the target of State and Federal investigations.
According to newspaper reports, nearly half a dozen correctional officers have been arrested in a steroid probe.
Reports also indicate, a former regional director is under investigation as well.
The associated press reports two prison workers were arrested for being involved in a fight.
Since Corrections refused to talk, First Coast News asked State Attorney General Charlie Crist. He turned us down too.
First Coast News then went to Governor Jeb Bush's office requesting an interview on Department of Corrections staff housing.
We talked with two different people in Bush's press office. That was a week and a half ago. Our numerous calls have never been returned.
And so, Sherri Starling continues to call this secret community home.
A home where only those who live behind the razor wires seem to know who can and can't live here.
Originally posted by DigitalGrl
i dont see how this is a secret if we are able to look it up and find enough information about it to post here. i think the title of this thread is a bit misleading.