Florida DOC Head Speaks Out

Florida DOC Secretary James McDonough says he wanted to take the opportunity on public radio to tell the story about what his department is doing to correct the corruption that infiltrated the department, but stressed despite that, public safety is and was secure.

His predecessor, James Crosby, is pleading guilty to accepting $135,000 in kickbacks from a snack company.

McDonough said he's as disgusted as the general public, but he's found that even though leadership went astray, a majority of DOC employees never wavered. Since he first stepped in in February, he's worked to clean house at the Department of Corrections, firing or demoting at least 40 people and implementing new programs.

He said, "I'm very impressed by what I've seen. When I first came in I thought there might be more severe problems in regard to public safety, but I actually had that completely wrong."

McDonough says he's also taking on the 40,000 absconders in the system in the last few months, taking the number down by more than 5,000, and will continue to bring the number down. He's also working on a long range plan to reduce the recidivism rate, prisoners who end up back in the system.

McDonough says he wants to give every prisoner an opportunity to succeed, hoping to bring in vocational training and substance abuse treatment programs.

McDonough said he is also prepared to work with local sheriffs to work out arrangements on the violation of probations, people awaiting transport to state prisons that are overcrowding many county jails, including Leon County.