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Report: Should Florida DOC Sec. Serve Set Term, Rethink Hiring Methods?

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Should the head of Florida’s prison system serve a set term—sort of, decoupling the position from the Governor's term? Or might the state Department of Corrections rethink its methods when hiring new personnel?

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Credit Project on Accountable Justice (PAJ)
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Project on Accountable Justice (PAJ)
The five ideas outlined by PAJ to improve Florida's corrections system

Those are just some of the recommendations made by a Florida State University think tank looking at ways to improve Florida’s troubled corrections process. Project on Accountable Justice director Deborah Brodsky says one example is for the department to consider officers’ educational backgrounds and its minimum hiring age of 19.

“We don’t make a recommendation that says to hire a certain age, but if you’re looking for certain qualifications perhaps these are areas to explore. Is a 19-year-old necessarily a good launching point for this? But, these are areas where you really should be taking a look,” said Brodsky.

Other recommendations made in a new report released by the project include better salary compensation and benefits to "hire the best and the brightest" and creating a central body to look at the state’s criminal justice issues.

It also urges Florida look to other states, like Georgia, to reduce its prison population of about 100,000, which is projected to increase over the next five years. Florida also has the third largest prison population in the nation.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.