Mike Crews

Florida Department of Corrections

No correctional officers are responsible for the scalding hot shower death of mentally ill inmate Darren Rainey. That’s according to Miami Dade’s State Attorney, who released a report concluding just that. But, some people aren’t buying it.

iStockphoto

A north Florida correctional officer is facing charges of assaulting an inmate with a chemical agent and lying about it. He was arrested Tuesday and fired from the state’s prison agency.

Dan Bannister / iStockphoto

Prison reform may be officially dead this session, but prison reform advocates remain hopeful there will be some meaningful reform for Florida’s troubled prison system.

Florida Channel

A panel of Senators got a series of updates on Florida’s troubled prison system, including the status of use-of-force incidences within the correctional facilities and the inmate health care.

During her presentation to the Senate Criminal justice Committee, newly named Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones detailed some areas she says need improvement.

Florida Channel

Lawmakers are hoping the newly appointed head of Florida’s prison system can clean up the troubled agency plagued with suspicious deaths and allegations of inmate abuse.

Julie Jones, the fourth permanent Florida Department of Corrections Secretary under Governor Rick Scott, has only been in her post for a couple weeks. But she says she’s ready to make some changes.

Florida Channel

Governor Rick Scott has chosen a new permanent leader for the Florida Department of Corrections. And, some are calling Scott’s fourth pick for prison chief “a good fit.”

On Wednesday, Scott announced Julie Jones, the former head of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, will lead the state’s troubled prison system.

APD website/AHCA website

Governor Rick Scott announced the appointments of more agency heads Tuesday.

Following Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Scott spoke to reporters about the appointments—most of them returning from around the time Scott first took office.

Bloximages

Bringing stability and consistency to the troubled Florida Department of Corrections is at the forefront of several lawmakers’ and prison reform stakeholders’ minds as the 2015 legislative session draws near. And, the discussion may start at the top.

That’s especially after Governor Rick Scott still has to name a permanent head to lead the troubled agency—after Scott’s third Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary recently resigned.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews is stepping down at the end of this month and Governor Rick Scott named his interim replacement Monday afternoon. Crews is the first of Scott’s agency heads to resign since his re-election earlier this month.

The death of mentally ill inmate, Darren Rainey, and the way the Florida Department of Corrections handled the investigation spurred the agency to enact a series of reforms to combat prison abuse at its correctional facilities. Now, the department is facing a suit from Rainey’s family—which has revealed new details surrounding his death two years ago in a South Florida prison.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

An inmate abuse protest that started off at the Capitol Monday and ended at the Florida Department of Corrections left both sides parting ways amicably.

Ada Campos’ son, Justin, was serving a life sentence for killing two gang members. He claimed self-defense, but a judge didn’t agree. While housed in Jackson Correctional Institution, Campos says Justin got repeated calls and visits from his family.

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Florida’s prison system has been in the news a lot lately, between suspicious prison deaths, allegations of inmate abuse, and new reforms meant to address such abuses. But, some say the reforms are not enough and a change in leadership should be in store.

Florida Department of Correction's website

A recent inmate death at a North Florida Correctional facility has some calling for federal officials to step in and address what they call a “culture of inmate abuse” within the Florida prison system.

Latandra Ellington was an inmate at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, serving about two years in prison for fraud. Weeks ago, Tallahassee Attorney Darryl Parks says the 36-year-old sent two letters to her aunt, saying she felt threatened by guards. So, he says Ellington’s aunt called the facility and left a message.

Florida Channel

Governor Rick Scott is weighing in on the troubles surrounding the state’s prison system. The Florida Department of Corrections has been in the news lately for prison firings, allegations of inmate abuse, and the latest: threatening to cancel their contract with private inmate health care provider.

During a recent stop in Jacksonville, Scott told reporters he’s aware of the problems in the system and he says Corrections’ Secretary Mike Crews is taking care of it.

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews is slated to end his statewide tour next week of state correctional facilities in the wake of a series of suspicious inmate deaths under the agency’s care. It comes as six correctional employees in the panhandle were fired and arrested Wednesday for beating an inmate.

While he doesn't have a specific date, Crews’ last and 49th correctional facility to visit will be Gadsden County Re-entry Center.

MGN Online

The unnatural death of a mentally ill inmate two years ago has spurred the Florida Department of Corrections to enact a series of reforms. But, some mental health advocates say it’s not enough. Now, the group Disability Rights Florida is suing the prison agency on behalf of other mentally ill inmates housed within the same correctional facility the inmate died in.

Local 10 News Screenshot

The head of the Florida Department of Corrections says his agency is implementing several reforms to overhaul the system that houses more than 100,000 inmates. It’s the latest after the DOC came under fire for its handling of inmate deaths—particularly mentally ill prisoners.

The main impetus behind the changes is the death of mentally ill inmate Darren Rainey, and the department’s handling of the investigation into his death at Dade Correctional Institution.

Miami Herald's youtube

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews has suspended the warden of a South Florida prison where an inmate died in a scalding shower a couple years ago. It’s the latest in a series of inmate abuse-related death allegations surrounding the department lately.

Florida Channel

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews is a bit troubled by some of the overall prison stats, and he's alarmed by some of the African American numbers as well.

Florida has the third largest prison system in the country, housing about 101,000 inmates. Of those, about 48 percent are black.  

That's just some of the stats Crews mentioned at the recent 29th Annual National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community, which took place in Jacksonville.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Procedural changes are in store for Florida’s criminal justice system. State lawmakers must address the escapes of several felons who used forged court documents to secure their release. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also reviewing its crime lab operations, after the recent arrest of a former chemist suspected of tampering with drug evidence in multiple cases.

Florida Channel

A panel of Florida lawmakers moved several bills forward Wednesday attempting to address certain hot-button issues within the state’s criminal justice system from juvenile sentencing to unintended consequences of firing a warning shot. They also confirmed the appointment of Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews, who also gave Senators an update on the prison system.

DOC Secretary Talks Budget Deficit, Prison Health Care Privatization

Bay County Sheriff's Office

Following the recapture of two Florida inmates who used forged documents to escape prison, the Florida Senate has scheduled a hearing for next month to make sure such a jailbreak is harder to achieve.

Fleming Island Republican Senator Rob Bradley says he wants to conduct a thorough review of what allowed convicted murderers Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker to walk out of prison. Bradley is the head of a Senate Budget committee that looks at criminal justice issues.

Florida Channel

Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, sentencing reforms, and re-entry programs for inmates are just a few areas on the agenda for the Legislature’s criminal justice committees during the upcoming Legislative session.

Florida Channel

The privatization of prison health care services in Florida is expected to be fully implemented by mid-October. The effort, projected to save the department millions of dollars, caused thousands of employees to lose their state jobs.

Speaking before a Senate Criminal Justice budget panel Wednesday, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews said the privatization effort is almost done. There’s only one facility left that needs to privatize its prison health care services.

The Florida Department of Corrections is aiming to further reduce its budget deficit of $95 million with the help of Governor Rick Scott. But, Scott’s recommendation won’t be enough to cover the department’s entire budget hole. So, the department has started looking at cost saving measures in hopes of reaching one of its main goals.

“What we want to do is when we get to June 30th, our goal is to be at zero,” said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews.

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