Local 10 News gets inside look of abandoned Broward County prison

City of Pembroke Pines purchased property for $13 million


BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Local 10 News went behind the barbed wire of the former Broward Correctional Institution, an abandoned maximum security state prison in western Broward County on Sheridan Street, just east of U.S. Highway 27.

Inside, the halls are dark, dank and littered with leftovers from 3 1/2 decades of housing some of the most dangerous female prisoners in the state.

The city of Pembroke Pines paid $13 million for the property earlier this year and recently got the keys from the state. Public facilities director Shawn Denton described what it's like to be the new warden.

"(It's) a cross between morbid fascination and, 'Oh my, what are we going to do with this thing?'" Denton said.

The state shut down the prison in 2010 and it has been a playground for vandals ever since -- breaking into even the most secure parts of the place. All 26 buildings on the 66-acre complex have been trashed.

Local 10 was given full access to the facility, including death row, where serial killer Aileen Wuornos spent more than a decade before she was executed in 2002. The bed in her cell has been removed but the concrete room is small, has a sink, toilet and one narrow window in the corner, which was her only connection to the world outside.

The death row wing also had a medical unit with exam rooms and equipment, some of which was left behind by the state. In fact, in the dental area Local 10 found ceramic impressions from inmates' mouths.

"There's another section where they did optometry, and some instruments and some of the opportunities they had here, I mean it was a city within itself," Denton said.

Crews are currently working to turn off the utilities to the prison and secure it to keep out the curious. The city intends to annex the property and sell it to a developer.

A year after Wuornos was executed, the state moved the women's death row to the Lowell Correctional Institution near Ocala.

The Broward Correctional Institution was one of seven prisons closed by the state in 2010. 

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