New FL Corrections Chief Buss Seeks Big Prison Overhaul


Ed Buss, a low-key Midwesterner, has taken the Florida Department of Corrections by storm as he sets about reforming and revitalizing the nation’s third-largest prison system, a place long hostile to change and where outsiders are viewed with suspicion, reports the St. Petersburg Times. Gov. Rick Scott promised to shake things up, and nobody on his new team is pushing more change more quickly than Buss, a 45-year-old Army veteran who ran Indiana’s prisons.

In just six weeks, Buss has called for a major financial commitment to helping prison inmates re-enter society so they will be less likely to return to prison; fired more than a dozen highly paid administrators, proposed a 5 percent pay cut for all wardens and the privatization of prison health care programs; banned smoking by an estimated 60,000 inmates, urged the legislature to abolish mandatory minimum prison sentences in some cases, proposed that corrections officers switch from eight-hour days to 12-hour shifts to cut down on commuting costs and give more officers more weekends off, and suggested closing three prisons to cut costs and improve efficiency.

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