Problems plague Florida Department of Corrections: Officials fire back at criticism

10-2_SantaRosaCorrectionalInstitute_CrewsbFlorida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews was in Milton today, speaking out on department budget cuts and employee terminations. Crews fired 32 employees Sept. 19, triggering verbal attacks from Teamsters and further scrutiny of his beleaguered agency.

During a Community Partnership meeting held Sept. 24 at Santa Rosa Correctional Institute (SRCI), Crews and Region 1 Director Sam Culpepper fired back in defense, citing the loss of 9,200 state corrections positions and a $750 million budget reduction — despite a prison population which has increased by tens of thousands.

Culpepper said “less than a handful” of employees caused issues which have reflected poorly on the entire staff. “They will be held accountable,” noted Culpepper, who said the remainder of the department’s roughly 21,000 don’t deserve the negative publicity.

About 700 of those employees work at Santa Rosa Correctional Institute in Milton, which houses about 3,200 prisoners and injects an estimated $38 million into the local economy, including $24 million for employee salaries. Crews and Culpepper joined dozens of SRCI employees and about 80 community partners at the meeting, which was followed by a guided tour of the prison.

Read more in the Oct. 2 issue of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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