Audit details ‘dangerous’ understaffing at Florida prisons
“There is nothing surprising or unanticipated,” said Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice. He said he is “satisfied with the legislative response” to Jones’ call for staffing and is ready to move on.
Due to Republican-rigged districts, Joe Negron is “my” Florida state senator. The purpose of rigged districts is to have representation in name only, which is exactly what I have in Negron. A records request of his office under my name would indicate that he has answered few of the emails I’ve sent him, signaling that he is content with corruption of nearly every variety, including corruption within the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles when Julie Jones headed the agency.
Rick Scott did not bring Julie Jones out of retirement for her ability to serve Floridians in the Florida Department of Corrections; he brought her out of retirement for her willingness to play bureaucratic games. Joe Negron knows this. I copied him on several emails that specifically addressed misuse of the Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles database – D.A.V.I.D.; a/k/a Facebook for Cops – as it personally affected me. The FBI’s use of Facebook for Cops to look me up was the most amusing and bemusing. In response to my Freedom of Information request, the FBI claimed, via snail mail, that they had never heard of me, which was contradicted not only by my D.A.V.I.D. record, but by emails in my Inbox from the FBI.
There are many ways to immediately make the FDoC staffing ratio safe for both prison personnel and inmates alike.
There are many inmates who are too elderly or otherwise infirm to pose a threat to society. They can be compassionately released immediately. It is unacceptable for the FDoC to pretend to treat life-threatening illnesses when they’re unwilling to pay for the proper treatment regimens. Jeffrey Srang’s sentence was 10 years, not death. When his cancer was detected and determined to be too expensive to treat, Jeffrey should have been released to serve out the remainder of his sentence on house arrest so that he could receive care that likely would have saved his life, not released when he was at death’s door, to keep him out of FDoC mortality stats. Jeffrey was in continual pain from the tumors and the skin-cracking rash that covered @85% of his body, the essence of cruel and unusual punishment. Jeffrey was 28 when he died.
There are many inmates who were denied parole based on libelous Discipline Reports. Now that the FDoC has identified and fired a great number of bad apples, their Discipline Reports can be reviewed immediately and invalided if fictional, with deserving inmates granted the parole they deserved to begin with. The Discipline Reports written against Gary Bennett were fictional, but neither Centurion Ministries or the Innocence Project of Florida showed up to fight them, which resulted in additional years being tacked onto Gary’s sentence, when he should have been freed. The parole board was supposed to take my objections about the Discipline Reports into account, but didn’t. Gary could then have worked with his family and friends to prove his obvious innocence, seeing as neither Centurion Ministries nor the the Innocence Project of Florida is doing anything but pretending to have no legal recourse, when they couldn’t possible have more – like addressing Judge John Dean Moxley’s documented interference in Gary’s prosecution.
There are many inmates who are too mentally ill to be anywhere but in a medical facility. Period.
There are many inmates who are serving time for marijuana possession in so minor an amount that many communities now deem it a misdemeanor. Many of those inmates would easily qualify for medical marijuana on the basis of having PTSD, pain that is not easily managed, tumors, epilepsy, etc., in states that care about public health.
There are many inmates whose Violation of Parole sentences are based on an inability to pay costs assessed by courts or state agencies, which should be under investigation by the federal government, as should Florida’s policy of charging select inmates $50 per day for being incarcerated, typically inmates that file suit for cruel and unusual punishment.
There are inmates whose innocence is known to not only Florida’s highest court, but the nation’s highest court, like William “Tommy” Zeigler, who has been on death row for forty years. Jeff Ashton – of Casey Anthony and Ashley Madison notoriety – has been Tommy’s persecutor-in-chief for decades. Jeff Ashton was also on the receiving end of Judge Moxley’s improper correspondence in Gary Bennett’s case. Gary’s innocence is known to the FBI, Department of Justice and Senate Intelligence Committee, in addition to Florida’s highest court.
Addressing these matters – none of which can be ignored – would put staffing ratios where they should be.
But Florida corrections officers would still come and go, rapidly. And the caliber of employee attracted to the job will remain low, which means that inmate mortality stats will remain high.
The page below from the Teamsters’ “FDOC Parity of Pay: Impacts of Turnover” report indicates why these things are true, by comparing officers’ pay in four Florida agencies.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers don’t bust corruption, they participate in it, as indicated by their comfort level with there being no arrests for mentally ill inmate Darren Rainey’s heinous 2012 scalding homicide … being on board with corruption shouldn’t put FDLE officers at the top of the pay scale. As for the rest, it obviously is not more hazardous to be a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer than it is to be a Florida Highway Patrol officer, and it is obviously not more hazardous to be a Highway Patrol officer than it is a FDoC corrections officer.
Achieving parity involves lowering the wages of FDLE and FWC officers, and raising the wages of FHP and FDoC officers. Fair is fair, and just because politicians like Joe Negron aren’t into fair doesn’t mean we can’t push them all the way there, or out the door.
We Floridians don’t need “audits;” we need an honest media. One that will say that Julie Jones wasn’t right for managing the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and isn’t right for managing the Florida Department of Corrections, and was likely overpaid while an officer with Florida Fish and Wildlife. One that will say that Joe Negron is only in Tallahassee due to dishonest redistricting, and is anything but grateful to have a constituency to serve. One that will say that hundreds of inmates can and should be released for specific, provable reasons, in great haste. One that will tell you that FDoC officers are paid far less than than FWC officers, who may have to deal with a poacher or two in the course of a month on the job, not a killer or two during the course of an half hour on the job. While working your way up in the FHP has some rewards, working your way up to supervision in the FDoC won’t get you the the starting wage of a freaking FWC officer.
It is therefore just nuts to expect anyone to be a loyal FDoC employee. Rick Scott and Julie Jones should have said so. Joe Negron should have said so, too, and apologized for his role in making it so. The media should have made them all make sense … the Teamster’s didn’t issue their September 12th report for my eyes only, for crying out loud.
If you haven’t already, please sign this petition: of itself, Rick Scott’s appointment of Julie Jones proves he isn’t fit to govern Florida, and it’s definitely up to us to push him out by the only means we can – we don’t have a recall or impeachment process. Thank you!