Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bush Names New Corrections Head; Crosby Ran State Prison When Inmate Was Beaten to Death

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bush Names New Corrections Head; Crosby Ran State Prison When Inmate Was Beaten to Death

Article excerpt

Byline: Thomas B. Pfankuch, Times-Union staff writer

TALLAHASSEE -- The man who ran the Florida State Prison at Raiford when inmate Frank Valdes was beaten to death was named the new secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections yesterday.

James V. Crosby Jr., a Florida native who lives near Raiford, was picked by Gov. Jeb Bush to replace former secretary Michael Moore, who resigned last month during a reorganization of top offices by the governor.

Bush said Crosby's handling of the Valdes crisis was impressive, and he welcomed the addition of a Florida native to the department that had been led by Moore, a Texan who had led the prison system in South Carolina.

Crosby, 50, has held numerous jobs at Florida prisons, including warden at Florida State Prison, the state's toughest prison, about 35 miles southwest of Jacksonville. Most recently, Crosby oversaw the operation of several prisons as director of institutions in the Northeast Florida region.

Crosby inherits a massive department -- with a $1.7 billion annual budget, 26,000 full-time employees and 73,500 inmates -- beset by poor morale and organizational problems, said a spokesman for the state's largest correctional officers union.

Jim Baiardi, an official with the Police Benevolent Association, said Moore centralized operations to the point where too many decisions were made in Tallahassee, leaving some prisons without soap, toilet paper and proper employee uniforms. Those small inconveniences can enrage inmates, endanger guards and lower employee morale, Baiardi said. …

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