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Crosby's Cleanup

DAMAGE CONTROL

Misconduct Allegations Are Not Exaggerated

First Crosby tries to deny deny deny.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We've been hearing this since Michael Moore called Valdes' murder "an isolated incident".  

The Critical Incident Review Task Force's statement, "Staff misconduct is not systemic." equates to Crosby's own declaration that each impropriety is an "Isolated Incident", and includes shades of the department's general claim that "All inmates are liars". What else would we expect of a review that includes the Guard's Union?

Perhaps if most of the inspectors hadn't come up through the ranks getting away with the same crap as the officers they are inspecting, we'd be able to prove how much misconduct really exists. I mean, haven't we already learned that many promotions are rewards for 'misconduct'? Even the officers have told us that.

It's contradictory and hypocritical to me to claim that an inmate or any other member of society caught at one crime or act of 'misconduct' has probably perpetrated others we never know about and then claim the same is not true in the department.

If Crosby et al denies the amount of misconduct, basing that assumption on what was irrevocably and undeniably exposed, how can we ever expect him to really clean up the department? All his efforts will be half-hearted and we may as well forget a true change in the FDOC under James V. Crosby.

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn what Crosby's report says - The FDOC is full of "Officer Misconduct"! Much too much for the public's peace of mind.

Just my educated opinion,
Kay Lee

DOC review: Misconduct not systemic
http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article? AID=/20060119/LOCAL/201190341&SearchID=73233176087919

By KAREN VOYLES
and JOE FOLLICK
Sun staff writers
January 19. 2006 6:01AM

A few high-profile missteps by state Department of Corrections employees has created an unfair impression of an agency run amok, according to the agency's own review.

DOC Secretary James Crosby created the Critical Incident Review Task Force last year to search for any institutional problems that may have led to a litany of problems still percolating in a federal and state investigation.

The task force found that about 1 percent of the state's 26,000 prison employees are arrested each year, a percentage that the task force described as "minimal." In their final report, task force members wrote in bold print that it had concluded, "Staff misconduct is not systemic."

The Critical Incident Review Task Force for the Department of Corrections was made up of 12 department employees, including the president of the 18,000-member correctional officers union.

Crosby directed the task force to focus on statistics, not anecdotal information, to judge his perception that a few incidents had skewed the agency's image. Crosby said he believed that staff behavior was not substantially different in 2005 than in the recent past, but that news media coverage had become more intense.

Crosby compared the 2005 news media scrutiny to "a movie like 'The Perfect Storm.' A lot of things were coming out all at once. So it was a very appropriate time to take a deep breath and objectively look at these issues and see what was really happening."

Incidents involving prison employees include arrests and federal convictions in connection with steroid activity among corrections officers.

Crosby's close friend, Region I Director Allen Clark, resigned in August as a swirling state and federal investigation into the steroids business, alleged misuse of inmate labor and state property and embezzlement continued.

Clark and two DOC employees were later charged with battery after an alleged fight at a softball banquet in Tallahassee in April.

Other officers were also arrested in bar fights. And later in the year, a correctional officer committed suicide after being implicated but never charged in an alleged sexual assault.

That wasn't all.

Employees at other agencies spoke up about problems they had playing sports against prison employee teams. Reports of nepotism rattled the agency. And an employee was arrested after being accused of never showing up for his job and only being hired to play on a prison softball team.

"The circumstances caused there to be a media perfect storm in the Gainesville area," Crosby said. "The point being, when you make the front page in living color and you use your best artist on it, it tends to make one say 'Am I missing something?' I wanted to see if something unusual was going on, or was this a matter of timing."

Crosby's deputy secretary, Laura E. Bedard, chaired the task force, which formulated 18 recommendations to reduce staff misconduct. Some were already under consideration, such as seeking a state law to allow for reasonable suspicion drug-testing of employees suspected of using steroids.

James Baiardi, a 20-year prison employee and president of the Correctional Officer Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, said his group would have no problem supporting that recommendation.

The union is still considering some of the other recommendations,like establishing intensive remedial training for employees who have had three reported incidents of alleged misconduct within 12 months, even if the allegations were unfounded.

"To be honest, I don't know how additional training could hurt anyone," Baiardi said. "But the number three is kind of low because we're dealing with inmates. . . . Lots of inmates are pathological liars who will try to cause a problem with an officer."

Generally, Baiardi said the union looks favorably on plans to improve employee behavior.

"We want to see our own people clean and we want to get out of the newspapers with all this," Baiardi said.

Among the complaints levied against Crosby's leadership over the past several months have been charges of cronyism. One of his protégés, Clark, was once suspended for 60 days without pay, but promoted shortly after returning to work.

The task force recommends a more objective method of promoting staff that includes a review of high-profile incidents. Crosby said he'd like to study the idea deeper before making any commitments.

"Maybe we are just looking at people we know instead of looking at the hidden pearl somewhere - someone we don't know as much about," Crosby said. "We need to find the proper balance for objectivity and subjectivity."

After reviewing the task force report, Crosby assigned each recommendation to one or more people to be implemented or studied further. Some, such as the request for a law allowing for reasonable suspicion steroid testing, have already been made.

"We don't have a specific timetable for these recommendations," Crosby said. "But we do have staff assigned and working on them."

Karen Voyles can be reached at (352) 486-5058 or voylesk@gvillesun.com.

Jan 19, 12:34 PM EST
State prisons department: Misconduct allegations are exaggerated
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FL_PRISON_PROBLEMS_FLOL-?SITE=FLPET&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT#Anchor-49575

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Intense media coverage of employee misconduct in the Florida Department of Corrections created a "perfect storm" that created an unfair impression of the agency, Secretary James Crosby said.

Crosby spoke Wednesday after the release of a report by the Critical Incident Review Task Force, which looked into employee misconduct to determine if current procedures were adequate. In 2005, incidents involving prison employees included arrests and federal convictions in connection with steroid sale and use and reports of embezzlement, sexual assault and fraudulent hiring practices.

The five-page report's main conclusion was: "Staff misconduct is not systemic."

The report noted that about 1 percent of the state's 26,000 prison employees, or about 274 employees are arrested each year.

"The task force would like to emphasize that even though this is a relatively small percentage of employees getting arrested, even a small number of incidents is unacceptable," the report states.

The task force was made up of 12 department employees, including the James Bairdi, president of the 18,000-member correctional officers union.

In an interview with The Gainesville Sun published Thursday, Crosby compared the 2005 news media scrutiny to "a movie like 'The Perfect Storm.' A lot of things were coming out all at once. So it was a very appropriate time to take a deep breath and objectively look at these issues and see what was really happening."

Crosby's office said he was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Crosby's friend and protege, Region I Director Allen Clark, resigned in August as a swirling state and federal investigation into the use of steroids, alleged misuse of inmate labor and state property and embezzlement continues. Clark has not been charged in that investigation, but he and two DOC employees were charged with battery after an alleged fight at a softball banquet in Tallahassee in April.

A correctional officer committed suicide after being implicated but never charged in an alleged sexual assault. Another employee was arrested after being accused of never showing up for his job and only being hired to play on a prison softball team.

Deputy Secretary Laura E. Bedard, was chairwoman of the task force. It formulated 18 recommendations to reduce staff misconduct. Some were already under consideration, such as seeking a state law to allow for reasonable suspicion drug-testing of employees suspected of using steroids.

Crosby has assigned staff members to examine each recommendation to determine how it will be implemented or whether it needs more study.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

DOC Chief Defends His Leadership
The Ledger, FL -
By STEVE BOUSQUET
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2005

James Crosby refers to federal and state investigations as a "quagmire."
By STEVE BOUSQUET
St. Petersburg Times

TALLAHASSEE -- Ending weeks of silence, James Crosby is defending his leadership of the state prison system as the agency is under investigation by state and federal authorities.

Crosby called the investigation a quagmire that could drag on for months and cast a lingering shadow over the nation's thirdlargest prison system.

"I don't know how you get out of that quagmire," Crosby said. "It is problematic, but I don't know the solution to it."

Eight Department of Corrections officers have been charged with felonies, and agents have seized vehicles and trailers belonging to employees in six North Florida counties. Crosby's boss, Gov. Jeb Bush, has said Crosby is doing a good job.

In an interview held at a Chili's restaurant near the state Capitol, Crosby declined to discuss matters under investigation, although he said he asked regional prison chief Allen Clark to resign in August because of the investigation.

But Crosby would not give specifics on why he asked his friend to step down.

"Allen's my friend. He told me he's not done anything," Crosby said. "Did he resign for no reason? No."

Crosby displayed some of the political savvy that helped him make it to the top of the prison bureaucracy. He dismissed criticism, much of it recycled on Web sites, as the rantings of a small group. He cited a close alliance with the correctional officers union, the Police Benevolent Association, to blunt a perception spread by critics that he rules with an iron hand.

"If we were ruling through fear and intimidation and that was our modus operandi, do you really believe the PBA would be out there supporting me like they do?" Crosby asked.

To Ron McAndrew, a retired warden and critic of Crosby's, the union's steadfast support of Crosby is not proof that Crosby is a good administrator but rather a gifted politician, someone who "always plays like he's got a full hand."

"Crosby's made some deals with the PBA," McAndrew said. "Instead of fighting the PBA and representing the state as he's hired to do, he's wheeling and dealing behind the scenes with the PBA, or they wouldn't be speaking so highly of him."

McAndrew said Clark's rise to prominence is one example of Crosby's shortcomings as an administrator. McAndrew recalled Crosby once urged him to hire Clark, but he refused.

"His biggest failure is spreading cronies in key positions," said McAndrew, Crosby's predecessor as warden of Florida State Prison.

Crosby praised Clark, a friend and protege, as a go-getter, with plenty of leadership potential. He said their friendship began years ago at Lancaster Correctional Institution in Trenton when Crosby was a rookie warden and Clark a young prison guard.

"I watched him grow up in the system," Crosby said.

Clark, 40, survived a series of internal investigations of allegations of inmate abuse and misuse of equipment. A devoted softball player, he had a team called the Blue Wave at New River Correctional Institution.

Crosby defended the prison culture's seeming obsession with competitive softball, saying sports provide a sense of community and a way to relieve the stress of long days "inside that fence," as he put it, in highsecurity prisons surrounded by hardened criminals.

Crosby is a product of smalltown Florida, a former mayor and councilman in Starke and a former Democrat who became a Republican. He conceded his years in the prison bureaucracy did not prepare him for the politically charged Tallahassee environment, with its no-holdsbarred struggles between lobbyists for lucrative contracts.

"I thought it would be more about running institutions," Crosby said of his $124,000-a-year job as secretary of corrections. "But it's turned into being about procurement, politics and policies."

The procurement of goods and services has been especially troublesome for Crosby. He has been unable to resist going to dinners and social events with vendors and lobbyists, and the Legislature and state auditor general have criticized the awarding of some big-money contracts.

In the midst of the controversies, Crosby convened a meeting Monday of dozens of prison wardens, the first such gathering in more than a year.

The two-day conference at Wakulla Correctional Institution came five days after Crosby's boss, the governor, urged him to show strong leadership and advised: "Don't let the `blanks' let you down."

Crosby's spokesman, Robby Cunningham, said Crosby told wardens not to be distracted by a recent series of news articles critical of the agency.

"He spoke to the wardens, and he let them know they're appreciated," Cunningham said.

Crosby declined to allow a St. Petersburg Times reporter to attend the session, citing security reasons.

Crosby was more forthcoming in the 45-minute interview than he has been in months, but there were subjects he would not discuss. A copy of Crosby's appointments calendar, obtained by the Times from a public records request, shows he met in his office on April 27 with Rick Lober, an inspector for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Could Crosby tell what that meeting was about?

"No," he said.

Then he comes back by creating a "Incident Review Team", even though he says employee acts of aggression are so rare.  It would be a waste of money if they really were.  As it is, it's a waste of time because it's Crosby's review team and he's part of the problem.  KL

Critical Incident Review Task Force
http://www.angelfire.com/oz/today/crosbystaskforce.html

Corrections chief reacts to criticism
James Crosby says he will create an incident review team and punish offenders.
http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/111805/met_20333047.shtml
Last modified Fri., November 18, 2005 - 11:57 AM
Originally created Friday, November 18, 2005
By PAUL PINKHAM and MATT GALNOR,
The Times-Union

Responding to repeated reports of misconduct by prison employees, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary James Crosby said Thursday any employee arrested for an "act of aggression" will be immediately suspended.

Crosby is also creating an incident review team made up of prison administrators to review staff misconduct, disciplinary and personnel procedures and data on staff substance abuse. He expects their work to be done by the end of the year.

And he said he has implemented a random drug testing policy for all correctional officers. Testing will include illegal narcotics and steroids, he said.

"We've had the conduct. We've had the fights before ... but our tolerance level might have been set way too low over the years," Crosby told reporters during a teleconference from department headquarters in Tallahassee.

Investigations by the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement have led to arrests of correctional officers on charges of steroid use and embezzlement, and an investigation is continuing into theft of prison property by guards and administrators. Crosby said the task force will help formulate a response to prison employees charged in those types of incidents.

The new administrative policy applies only to arrests for acts of aggression, whether on or off duty, he said. Those employees will be on paid leave pending a departmental review of the incident.

Crosby didn't mention his longtime protege, former prison administrator Allen Clark, who was arrested with two other corrections supervisors last week and charged with felony battery during an April law enforcement banquet in Tallahassee. Clark resigned his $94,000-a-year position in August, a few weeks before FDLE seized a vehicle from him as part of the investigation into theft of state property.

State Rep. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, said Crosby needs to be responsible for his employees and be more plugged in to the front-line workers.

Crosby said the department has been working for two years on the drug testing policy, which will apply to any certified law enforcement officer in the department.

Hal Johnson, general counsel for The Florida Police Benevolent Association, said the correctional officers union agreed with the changes.

Crosby said most of the department's 26,000 employees are good employees, but the department needs to improve how it responds to negative incidents.


paul.pinkham jacksonville.com,  (904) 359-4107
matt.galnor acksonville.com,  (904) 359-4550

CROSBY'S CURE

I hate to say it, but I don't trust James Crosby as far as I can throw him.  He's been questionable to me ever since he was conveniently off duty when Valdes was killed.  The deterioration of the department since he took over has added to my belief that he is either too crooked or too weak to lead the FDOC. He had his chance and in my eyes he blew it.  I wouldn't trust any 'incident review team' that serves under him.  Why can't we have an independent review committee made up of people James Crosby has no control over?  Kay Lee

FL - Corrections Department tightens arrest rules
http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051118/NEWS/511180372/1006/SPORTS
By Joe Follick CAPITAL BUREAU
Friday, November 18, 2005 5:41 AM

TALLAHASSEE -- Beleaguered by months of publicity on the behavior of Department of Corrections employees, DOC Secretary James Crosby announced on Thursday the first in what's expected to be a series of changes to the department's rules of conduct.

Crosby spoke with the department's four regional directors Thursday morning to implement a new policy that will automatically place an employee arrested for an "act of aggression" on leave until the department investigates the arrest.

Previously, an off-duty arrest carried no mandatory action from the department.

Crosby said an "incident review team" formed last month will likely suggest other revisions in areas such as drug and alcohol abuse, promotions and personnel matters, and other staff misconduct.

He expects their report by the end of the year.

"Our tolerance level may have been way too low over the years," Crosby said in a conference call with newspaper reporters Thursday. "Being continuously on the front page like this makes you reevaluate."

In recent months, department employees have been arrested for fights at a popular Starke bar, another employee apparently killed himself at Union Correctional Institution after being publicly named in connection with a sexual assault investigation, and three current and former officers were arrested last week by Tallahassee police on battery charges related to an April Fool's Day fight at a softball banquet.

Among the three men arrested was Allen Clark, a close friend of Crosby's who, with no explanation, resigned his $94,000 position as Region I director in late August.

Clark is at the center of a sprawling state and federal investigation into myriad issues.

The other two men, Richard Frye and James Bowen, were originally placed on paid leave during a DOC investigation.

But this week, that changed to unpaid leave and they lost their state-provided housing at the Apalachee Correctional Institution in Sneads.

Crosby said he asked the regional directors to stress "the importance of our officers taking pride in their jobs."

"By and large, I think we have a great agency and if you look at most of the 26,000 employees you'll find them to be hard-working and dedicated," he said.

"There's always room for improvement."

Crosby said the decision to tighten the rules for misconduct was his own and he was not asked to do so by the governor's office.

Crosby said the department has already changed policies to allow for random drug testing with or without cause. Federal agents arrested five men involved in a steroids ring earlier this year involving current and former DOC employees.

"Random drug testing is not the norm in law enforcement, but we felt it's necessary for us to take this action because of the environment we live in," Crosby said.

Crosby said steroids weren't prevalent when he came up through the ranks, and he said misbehavior by DOC employees may not be any greater than before.

"I don't know that the numbers are any higher," he said. "I think attention is greater now. It makes one think."

He also said that the department is not culpable for the actions of its employees outside of work.

"The only good concept that 'ole baldy' tried to practice, as I see it, was putting security people in as wardens. That made sense. Only trouble is that the ones that I saw moved into those positions also had the dishonest characteristics of his northern crowd.  
 
"Softball and sports was a priority and raiding the employees club seemed to support the habit. Staff housing was awarded to new hire ball players. Some institutions have more housing than is needed for the listed “essential staff” and that is good, but I would not want to count on new hires if there was trouble on the compound.  
 
"Another thing that came with the new administrations is a dramatic increase in uses of force. Maybe that is good but I don’t know.
 
"If Bush and Crosby had stood up and began to clean up, I would say give them a chance. They did not. I don’t think it is possible or necessary to try to purge all the bad apples at once. Replace the dirty top leaders with someone with guts and integrity, someone willing to clean house and things could be changed from the top down. Those willing to change and go with the good flow would have that chance, if not they will come out in the wash.
 
"Another thing that really disturbs me is the response of the legislature. We should have the numbers to get their attention but you have to use real names to write or petition them. This is a real dilemma for us. This needs research and ideas. Think people. We are at the point where we need to do more than express ourselves. We are going to need action.  
 
"A hungry investigative reporter could be helpful in this fight. I have a lead on such a one and promise to follow through on that." ~An Officer

CROSBY'S DRUG STUDY

I have to question the FDOC's ability to carry out any rehabilitative program as every FDOC person I've ever spoken with, when confronted with the question of rehabilitation, responded, "That's not my job."

Corrections Secretary James V. Crosby, Jr., after the latest FDOC scandal involving prison workers and drugs,  has decided to do a drug study on inmates.  He is quoted as saying, "The Department – and taxpayers – want to stem the flow of addicted offenders re-entering society ..."  and yes, as long as drug warriors insist that incarceration is the best method of lowering supply and demand (despite great evidence to the contrary), prisons should be doing their part to treat addicts. 

However, I question the ability of the FDOC to decide just who's an addict and needs to be in the program. The drug classes they have now are required for many who are not addicted (for instance, marijuana is non-addictive and dedicated dealers don't usually use the drugs they sell), yet some real addicts simply cannot get into the program. KL

CATCH 22
"Now, I'm not very bright, but I do know that the whole reason there was a budget for drug testing in prison was to keep inmates from coming out of prison addicted to drugs.  To me that means helping the ones with the problem, not just punishing them.  I know Billy was trying to get sent to a drug treatment in prison, but they said he had to stay a year clean.  Well, he couldn't stay a year clean because he's a drug addict.  If he could stay clean a year, I don't think he would need their help." ~Fellow Inmate

I expect to see a lot of time and money wasted in this effort, but that's just my opinion based on the history of frugal spending and successful programs offered by department.

Once you realize that you can treat 6 addicts for less than it costs to incarcerate one of them, you might want to encourage legislators to change the laws to incarcerate fewer 'drug addicts' and spend the saved money to build more treatment centers.
 
  Kay Lee

Press Release
January 13, 2006
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

Corrections Initiates Historic Prison Drug Treatment Research
Intense Study First of its Kind in Prison System
http://www.dc.state.fl.us/secretary/press/2006/drugtreatment.html

Tallahassee – The Florida Department of Corrections today announced an innovative joint research partnership with the Florida State University (FSU), which will include a rigorous assessment of drug rehabilitation efforts in the Florida prison system.

"Every prison system in America has some form of drug treatment," said Corrections Secretary James V. Crosby, Jr. "The Department – and taxpayers – want to stem the flow of addicted offenders re-entering society, and this study will confirm whether today’s methods work best with today’s offenders."

Secretary Crosby requested the study, after Department researchers determined a more extensive effort was needed to determine the effectiveness of current treatment methods in Florida’s prison system.

"This study will provide research that will set the standard for future studies in this area," said Dr. Thomas Blomberg, Dean of the FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. "We believe the study is the first of its kind. It will require a great deal of determination and commitment."

Current literature indicates that drug treatment is effective, but heretofore no studies have been as rigorous as the proposed study will be.

FSU's Office of Research, Human Subject Committee, examined all aspects of the study to ensure it meets the highest ethical and academic standards. The University's Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research will conduct the independent research.

"Approximately three out of every four inmates have histories of substance abuse. We also know that of the nearly 600,000 inmates released every year in this country, about one-in-four will return to prison within three years. This study will better define the relationship between inmate substance abuse and recidivism, thereby potentially reducing this problematic trend," Blomberg added.

As Florida inmates enter the prison system, they will be given an opportunity to participate in the study. Inmates who choose to participate will be randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. The treatment group will receive services based on their level of substance abuse need.

Data will be collected over a three year period and analyzed to determine whether inmates who participated in treatment were less likely to recidivate than those who did not. The results of the unprecedented study could impact the method and manner in which treatment is funded and implemented.

The Department's substance abuse screening process indicates about 55,000 inmates on any given day require substance abuse treatment. Currently the prison system has 2,300 substance abuse treatment slots. In FY 2004-05, 6300 inmates received substance abuse treatment, which ranges from four months to one year.

The study is scheduled to begin January 2006, and the first preliminary results will be available in 2009.

Institutional Drug Programs

DOC Press Releases and Announcements:
01/13/06: Corrections Initiates Historic Prison Drug Treatment Research

MTWT ON DRUGS IN THE FDOC

November 18, 2005

As you read the CYA propaganda remember that this is the same man who went so very far out of his way to hire and assist such staff as Oscar Shipley (softball player fired at Glades CI for beating an inmate senseless…then rehired by DC at FSP only to be promoted by JVCjr…then reduced in rank after assaulting a warden & warden’s spouse…THEN ACTUALLY PROMOTED A SECOND TIME BY JVCjr just a few months after the demotion), Keith Davidson (run off from CFRC while under investigation… only to be hired by JVCJr at FSP to play ball…then allegedly raped female CO before his suicide) AC Clark…well, do I really have to get into this goon’s past) Tim Thornton (JVCjr was warned that Thornton would kill and inmate if not stopped (only to be promoted to Captain following this warning by JVCjr)………as you know the list goes on and on and on.

JAMES CROSBY

PEOPLE WITH INFLUENCE