October 16, 2014
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Letter to the editor
Published October 16, 2014
For the entire story, visit: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-letters-florida-prison-reform-101614-20141015-story.html
In an editorial published on Sept. 27, the Orlando Sentinel called for immediate action to improve the treatment of our inmates and the quality of our staff ("Scott, lawmakers must end abuse in Fla. prisons"). I couldn't agree more, and that is why, over the past few months, I have visited all 49 of our facilities to express my expectations to our staff.
The Department of Corrections has taken serious action to ensure the safety of our inmates, proper training of our staff and integrity of our department. Through major reforms, we have shown our commitment to improvement. I believe that we are headed in the right direction.
We have thousands of dedicated employees who take pride in their work and do the right thing every day. However, we also have a few who discredit the integrity of this agency through intentional misconduct. To those, I say we have no tolerance for misconduct, abuse or neglect, and such actions will be met with the gravest of consequences, including dismissal from this department.
The issues we face are the result of the inappropriate actions of a few that have affected many. This department will not be defined by those who choose wrong over right.
I see promise in Florida's low crime rate — the lowest in 43 years — steadily declining recidivism rate and the thousands of honest and hard-working people who represent this department. Through those employees and these reforms, we will become the most transparent and accountable agency in this state.
Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.