Prison Chief Says Florida’s Gov. Scott Ignored Crisis


Mike Crews, Florida’s former corrections commissioner, tells the Miami Herald that Gov. Rick Scott put politics before the state’s prison crisis as he campaigned for re-election last year. Crews said the governor's office asked him to fire people Crews didn't believe should fired; it wrote press releases that said things he didn't say, and orchestrated hastily arranged news conferences that were smokescreens designed to distract from the real crisis, as Crews saw it: that Florida's prisons were so rundown and understaffed that they had become dangerous.

“I guess you can say they were more concerned with the crafting and writing of news releases and that had little to do with the reality of what needed to be done to keep the institutions safe and secure,'' Crews said of the governor's office. Crews said he saw the prison system cut so many corrections officers that overtime had ballooned to $2.9 million a month. Institutions were so deteriorated that their electrical, plumbing and security systems were constantly failing. Staffing levels were so dangerously low that some institutions weren't able to adequately keep count of inmates. Crews resigned last November, after Scott won re-election.

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