May 8, 2015
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Published May 7, 2015
By: Garin Flowers
To view the story online, visit: http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/local/2015/05/07/guards-arrests-shows-new-accountability-in-florida-prisons/70965996/
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two Florida prison guards found themselves on the wrong side of the law this week – arrested and accused of beating an inmate.
"We cannot tolerate that," said Corrections Secretary Julie Jones.
"Whether it [was] accidental or whether it [was] purposeful, any behavior on the part of an officer will not be tolerated, bling spot or no," Jones said.
The arrest – and firing – of these guards could be a sign of change at the Florida Department of Corrections.
A prison reform bill in the Legislature failed to pass this year, but Jones has produced a first-year plan that she believes will include necessary changes.
[To view the first year plan on a mobile device, click HERE]
"We're going to look at systemic systems within the Department of Corrections to look at how best to support our officers."
Allison DeFoor is a former Monroe County Sheriff and now chairman of Project on Accountable Justice at Florida State University. He has long spoken out about the prison issues and thinks things are heading in the right direction.
"I expect strong leadership from Secretary Jones and I'm pleased to see it."
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.