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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Florida Corrections:  Centuries of Progress

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Offender populations
June 30, 1989:
Inmates: 38,059
Supervised: 96,843

Legislature authorizes 9,368 new beds, including six new prisons and work camps.

OBIS: New databases implemented this year include the Health Services System (HSS). The Health Services subsystem is designed from scratch, (there were no similar programs available at the time), and the Florida DC becomes one of the leading authorities on computer-based health services systems. This new medical record system initially provides medical profile information, tracks medical contacts and assists with appointment scheduling (medical call-outs).

Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy is executed on January 24, 1989. "Ted Bundy's most apt - and accurate - single-sentence self description was offered not to us but to the group of north Florida cops who interrogated him soon after his final arrest in Pensacola in February of 1978. Said Bundy to the police, "I'm the most cold-blooded son of a bitch you'll ever meet." Excerpt from Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer by Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth.

According to Robert D. Keppel, Ph.D., a former investigator for the Washington State Attorney General's office, just before his execution, Bundy "confessed to 30 killings but admitted in detail to only a handful in an orchestrated effort to trade information for two or three months of life. It didn't work."

Keppel is one of only two law enforcement agents who visit Bundy on death row shortly before his execution who agrees to let the Department disclose their names to the press at the time. The other is Dennis Couch, of the Salt Lake County (Utah) Sheriff's Office.

Bundy was sentenced to death twice in 1979 for killing two Florida State University sorority sisters in Tallahassee, Lisa Levy, 20, and Margaret Bowman, 21, and again in 1980 for killing 12-year-old Kimberly Leach in Lake City. He is executed for the Lake City murder on January 24, 1989.

Richard Dugger is the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections during the Bundy execution, but he also knew Bundy personally because he had previously been the Warden (then called Superintendent) at Florida State Prison, where Bundy is housed. While much has been made of Bundy's intelligence, the authors of some books on the subject agree with Dugger's assessment.

Ted Bundy and the Warden

Ted Bundy was a perverse, demented serial rapist and murderer. He was arrogant and clever but did not seem particularly brilliant or articulate as some reports have suggested. His murderous crime spree and avoidance of early capture was likely more attributable to his geographical mobility rather than his "intellect" or "charm."

During my tenure as Warden at FSP, my most vivid recollection of Bundy's case was the occasional sad and haunting phone calls and letters from the mother of a victim seeking my personal reassurance that Bundy would be executed and justice served in the murder of her only daughter. She never expressed anger or bitterness but deep sadness seemed interwoven in her written lines and spoken words.

While I never heard from her again following Bundy's execution, I doubt that it brought her any particular relief or closure.

Thoughts of the Ted Bundy case and execution do not routinely re-occur to me except as the subject of a grieving mother's sad voice that I still "hear" from time to time.

Richard Dugger

Ted Bundy and the Media

I was working as a Public Information Officer in the Department of Corrections' press office in Tallahassee when Bundy's death warrant was signed. At that time, there were only three of us working there: Information Director Bob Macmaster, me, and our secretary, Pam Davis. Normally, Bob would go to Florida State Prison (the site of the execution) the day before the execution was scheduled, but in this case he went down early because the need for a Department spokesperson was so great with the crush of media who had already gathered there. Somebody said the satellite dishes were popping up like mushrooms in the field across the highway from the prison.

So Pam and I were left in the Tallahassee office to answer questions from there. Typically, reporters wanted to know who was visiting Bundy, what his mood was like, was he going to do any interviews, what did he request for his last meal, etc. (Bundy declined a last meal, so he was offered the traditional steak, eggs, hashbrowns, toast, milk, coffee, juice, butter and jelly about 5 a.m. on the day of his execution.)

What I remember most about that time is that our two phone lines never stopped ringing from the moment the warrant was signed by Governor Bob Martinez until after the execution. Even afterwards, when Bundy's autopsy photos surfaced in the tabloids, the ringing continued. (A reporter had told me days earlier that tabloid reporters were offering large sums of money to anyone who could get a picture of Bundy after the autopsy. It appears someone took them up on their offer. Bundy was no longer in the Department's custody when those pictures were taken.)

The other thing I remember is the unprecedented media coverage. There had not been an execution that generated that type of coverage before, though there may have been a few since. Reporters were clambering to get in to see the execution. Others were offering money to see and/or film the execution. A guy who identified himself as a producer for a major network news show offered the Department $1 million if they could film the execution. I remember asking him if he was serious. He says he was. I took that offer to then-Secretary Richard Dugger, who joked "cash or check?" before dismissing it out of hand. Some radio station from out west (where Bundy is alleged to have murdered several women) called me live and said they were collecting money to pay for the electricity to execute Bundy and how much did they think we'd need? They also wanted a copy of the death warrant to give away to one of their listeners. A politician's wife, who is also a journalist, called and actually said "Do you know who I am?" after I told her she couldn't be on the witness list. Ironically, the media witness list is not drawn up by the department, but by the Florida Press Association and the Florida Association of Broadcasters. We had absolutely no control over who from the media could attend the execution. All the major networks called, as did authors of various Bundy books and international media. The public was also making itself heard in the form of those cheering the execution on, including students from my nearby alma mater, the University of Florida, and from those opposed to the death penalty, who were seriously outnumbered by those in favor. Several people referred to the "circus-like" atmosphere, and people were sporting signs that said things like "Tuesday is Fryday." (He was executed on a Tuesday.)

At that time, we didn't have email or cell phones, so communication was difficult between the office and the prison, because we were both inundated with calls and the lines were always busy. I found out from a reporter that Bundy had cancelled his group press interview. (Inmates about to be executed are entitled to a one-on-one interview with the journalist of their choice and a group interview with a pool of journalists.) For the past several years, Bundy had refused all media requests, so we didn't really expect him to agree to any now. I think everyone was surprised that he decided to do a one-on-one interview, and with whom he chose to do it. He picked James C. Dobson, Ph.D., president of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization that produces a syndicated radio show. My notes from that time indicate that he is from Pomona, California and that he brought with him cameramen Steve Stiles and Charlie Barth, and soundman Tom Wheatley. (It's interesting to note that in the book mentioned at the beginning of this article, Bundy talks about how much he loves listening to radio talk shows.) The gist of the interview is that Bundy said pornography greatly influenced his life of crime. I got the sense there was a lot of skepticism about Bundy's sincerity, and some just viewed it as Bundy manipulating "the system" for his own purposes one last time.

Paula Tully Bryant
Governmental Operations Consultant II

Ted Bundy and the Execution

Even after 16 years, it is difficult for me to look back with full clarity on those three days in January, 1989, that ended in the execution of Ted Bundy. It's not that the execution itself was much of a departure from the routine that occurred whenever the state carried out a sentence of death. What differed about this execution were the actions and emotions of the hundreds of people who crowded into the green concrete cellblock or filled the nearby field on State Route 16 east of Raiford.

For two years, it had been my job to escort media witnesses into the Q Wing of Florida State Prison (FSP), and then commit to short-term memory the events of the next fifteen or so minutes that it took to strap a killer into the electric chair, hear their final words, watch the body stiffen under 45-seconds of searing 2000-volt current, and await the final pronouncement of death. The Bundy execution, like most of the others, was carried out with clockwork precision.

I left Tallahassee a day earlier than usual to get a handle on the situation at the prison and to lay out some ground rules for the news media entourage that was assembling outside the prison. The atmosphere was charged, due not only to the numbers of reporters, but their intense interest in every detail of the event that was unfolding. My phone in the room next to Prison Superintendent Tom Barton's office rang constantly through the first day, mostly reporters from outside the area who wanted details about Bundy's waning hours. At my office back in Tallahassee, Information Specialist Paula Tully (Bryant) fielded a similar barrage of calls.

Along with the routine tasks at hand, prison staff somehow managed to squeeze in final visits from law enforcement investigators who were still trying to close some of the dozens of murders linked to the man who was now awaiting his turn with death.

Bundy had been offering up promises of more details to come, if only the law would listen. Barton, an experienced warden, had a hunch of where this would lead, and told me to scrounge up a spare tape recorder - something which normally was excluded from the execution area. The personnel manager finally found one and gave it to Barton.

Later that first day, I received word that Bundy wanted to cancel his previously agreed-to group media interview scheduled for the following afternoon. That eased my burden, as we already had spent many hours deflecting the barrage of media requests for exceptions to the procedure used to select participants. It also gave me a first glimpse of Bundy's changing demeanor. He would now only speak with one media representative. Maybe he wasn't so sure of himself after all.

I was joined the following morning by Rev. James Dobson, a California-based broadcaster, and with cameraman in tow we made our way through prison security to a visiting area inside FSP. We found several corrections officers waiting there for us, with Bundy handcuffed and seated at a metal table.

During the interview, Bundy seemed to be trying to convince us all that his one-man path of evil and horror had somehow grown from his childhood exposure to pornography. He did little to convince me of anything but his guilt. I was surprised only at his preoccupation with the interview and the image that he was trying to project, with the execution just hours away. At the end of an hour, Dobson said Bundy wanted to speak to me, to say thanks for arranging the interview. Who was this person? He appeared too relaxed and in control, too "normal" to be a crazed killer. He looked even smaller than I had expected. But as I approached, I saw the eyes - they looked distant, as if betraying his awareness of what was to come. I escorted Rev. Dobson back outside, and then left for the media area to brief reporters on what had transpired.

That final night was a blur for me - while Bundy talked with his last visitors at FSP, I returned to my motel for an evening of telephone calls, visits from prison staff, and a wakeup call at 3 am on the morning of January 24 from the Best Western night clerk.

I drove through the gates at FSP just before 4 am, went to Barton's office and was invited to join staff for a breakfast of sausage, eggs, grits and orange juice before we started the day's work. I wasn't hungry yet, so I downed the juice and a cup of coffee and started fielding calls. It was about this time that Bundy was offered his last meal - the traditional steak and eggs. He didn't eat it.

Shortly after 5 am the head classification officer - I think it was Dave Lear - joined me. We picked up a dozen news men and women in a DC van and took them to the prison for secure processing and a final briefing on what they were about to see. About a quarter before 7, we led them into the witness room adjoining the execution chamber, where they squeezed into the few remaining seats. The 10 official witnesses had already been seated in the front of the room, directly facing the electric chair.

I remember the look on Bundy's face as he was escorted to the well-worn oak chair, his head shaved clean, his steps faltering, and his eyes looking more desperate than they had the day before. They seemed to be searching in vain for a way out where there was none. I wonder how many of his victims had that same look. I don't recall his last words, just the look.

At 7 am Barton nodded to the executioner and Bundy's back arched tight against the wood chair as the hum of the transformer kicked in. Ten minutes later, we were walking out to the drive behind the prison, where a reporter (I think it was Ron Word of the Associated Press) waived a flag to tell the others it was complete.

The sun was rising but not enough to warm the chill of late January in North Florida. More than 100 reporters greeted me in the press area across from the prison, and I briefed them on what had transpired. Along the way, we saw hundreds of spectators who had come to be close to the execution. I understood the interest and the emotion. Who had not been touched by the plight of all the victims? But parts of it looked more like a crowd assembled for a circus side show, with spectators yelling and waiving banners like "Fry Bundy" and "Let's fire up Old Sparky." It seemed out of control. And then it was time to go back to the prison for more press calls.

Before noon, Barton approached me with a sealed manila envelope and asked if I could drop it by the Governor's Office when I returned to Tallahassee. I said sure, tucked it into my black briefcase and headed for home shortly after. I later learned that the envelope contained some of Bundy's last recorded words. Barton had expected Bundy to try talking his way out of this. As Bundy was being readied for his walk to the chair, he had offered to tell about more killings, more bodies, and where they could find them, if only they would give him a little more time. Barton reached into his pocket, switched on the tape recorder, and said something like: "OK, talk. You've got 15 minutes." With clockwork-like precision, Barton never missed a beat.

Robert Macmaster
Management Review Specialist

Charlotte Correctional Institution (Punta Gorda, FL), Liberty Correctional Institution (Bristol, FL) and Madison Correctional Institution (Madison, FL) open. River Junction C.I. and Lantana C.I. are converted to female facilities.

Portions of the following are from an article by Rick Schuster in Labelle, Florida's Caloosa Belle newspaper on August 23, 1989.

Inmate Drunk on "Buck"
Sparks Riot at Hendry C.I.

This article was altered in two respects. The author used the word "guard" to refer to correctional officers, and this error was corrected. Correctional officers in Florida must complete 542 hours of training at the Corrections Academy, including nine weeks of academic and four weeks of on-the-job training on a prison compound. They must be certified in defensive tactics, firearms (.38 revolvers and 12 gauge shotguns), use of pepper spray and as First Responders. Finally, they must pass the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's four-hour exam to be certified as correctional officers. So when journalists refer to correctional officers as "guards," officers have a tendency to find it both inaccurate and offensive. The second alteration in this article was a correction in the custody levels at Hendry CI.

The scene at the Hendry Correctional Institution is reported to be quiet following a disturbance on the evening of August 17, that resulted in injuries to 13 people, one seriously, and involved between 75 and 100 inmates at the facility that is located near the Hendry-Collier County line.

According to Richard Vollmer, personnel director for Hendry Correctional who is serving as spokesperson for the facility, the incident began shortly after 6 p.m. when an inmate was being removed from the general population for being intoxicated.

Vollmer said a group of other inmates became aggravated at seeing the one man being secured and attacked the correctional officers.

Eleven correctional officers and two inmates were injured. One of the correctional officers was listed in critical condition with a head injury. The others were treated and released.

"Some of the officers will be returning to the hospital for follow-up treatment," said Vollmer, "but none are expected to have serious injuries."

Correctional officers injured in the incident were David T. Williams of Lehigh Acres, Alex Beattie of Golden Gate; Eric Clark, John Graf, James P. Gregg, Joseph M. Henry and Robert Horkirk, all of Immokalee; Peter Lewkowic of Naples; Thomas Mercurio and Edward Wheeler of Lehigh Acres. Correctional officer Adam Dodson was hospitalized at Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center.

(Editorial note: Vollmer was not aware at the time of how serious Officers Adam Dodson and Ed Wheeler's injuries were. Dodson sustained a blow to the head from a #10 can that originally held peanut butter but was filled with concrete and used as a doorstop. Inmates picked Wheeler up over their heads and slammed him down on a concrete sidewalk. He is in a wheelchair today as a result of his injuries.)

Vollmer said the two inmates were treated and released for injuries they received at the hands of other inmates. According to reports, most of the injuries were inflicted with fists, but one correctional officer was struck by a board.

The uprising lasted to about 7:20 p.m., when Vollmer reported that all of the prisoners were secured.

Extra personnel from the Hendry and Collier County Sheriff's Departments and Emergency Medical Services, Charlotte and Desoto Correctional facilities and off-duty Hendry Correctional Institution employees were called in to assist in containing the prisoners.

The corrections officers in riot gear and armed only with batons made a sweep through the institution to facilitate the containment. Other law enforcement personnel were visible with firearms but were not needed. No shots were fired during the incident.

Approximately 80 inmates were involved in the disturbance and were removed from the facility and sent to other institutions. Vollmer said he was not sure, but he thought the inmates were sent to Union Correctional Institution and other institutions in the surrounding areas.

The incident will be investigated and charges will be filed against those inmates that were involved. Vollmer said there might also be possible procedural changes recommended, but none are expected.

Only a small portion of the almost 950 prisoners at the facility took part in the incident.

"Most of the other inmates just moved out of the area on their own," said Vollmer.

The compound houses minimum, medium and close custody prisoners serving up to life sentences for mostly drug-related crimes, according to prison authorities.

by Rick Schuster
Caloosa Belle

This "Buck's" for You

The inmate who sparked the riot got drunk on a concoction known in prison circles as "buck," a noxious mixture of any type of fruit, fruit drink or vegetable placed in a container and left to ferment into alcohol. Often the fruits or vegetables are combined with any type of starch, sugar or yeast to speed up the fermentation process. Inmates use bread as a filter and that supplies the yeast or they steal some from the prison kitchen. Most institutions no longer use yeast for baking because of this. Buck made from raisins is especially powerful. Some combinations include rice and apple cores (apple buck), tomato paste & apples and orange juice & potatoes. Some of these items are pilfered from the kitchen, where inmates cook and serve the food themselves, and others like orange juice can be bought at the inmate canteen and buried in the prison yard until it is "ready" or the mixture is hidden between cells where pipes are located so that heat can kickstart the fermentation process. Though the resulting liquid smells awful, ("worse than Kim Chi gone bad" as one officer put it) it allegedly produces enough of an alcoholic high to compensate for the up to 60 days in confinement that will result if the inmate is caught with it. Inmates will use whatever kind of container they can find to produce their wine and some have had serious medical reactions when using a container (like a bleach bottle) that has not been thoroughly cleaned out. It has another downside, according to Correctional Services Administrator Wayne Hemphill, a 20+ year DC veteran who has worked in over eight prisons statewide. "It produces one headbanger of a hangover."

Buck produces headaches for correctional officers too, because an inmate drunk on buck "has a tendency to think he's superman," according to Hemphill. "If you had 100 inmates high on marijuana, maybe one of them would give you trouble. If you have 100 inmates drunk on buck, every one of them would be looking for a fight," he said.

Subsequent to the Hendry riot, all institutions were required to "e-form" (now known as MINS reports) all finds of buck in facilities to the Inspector General's Office, whereas in the past disciplinary reports for this infraction were simply recorded and kept at the institutions, with a copy eventually making its way to Central Office. This change in policy enabled the Inspector General's Office to keep accurate records of buck usage in prison, which aided both contraband interdiction efforts and area searches.

Eyewitness Account

Then Correctional Officer Sergeant Eric Clark was at Hendry CI when the rioting started.

"At about 5 minutes till 6:00 p.m., there was a trouble call from "F" dorm by Officer Ray Graepel. Officer Don Jones responded. When he arrived, he called and said he needed further assistance. A general call for assistance was made and Lt. Robert Hobkirk from the Work Camp responded. He and I went to "F" dorm where we observed a smashed porcelain toilet. Officer Graepel told us that he had been performing the inmate count and inmate Jimmy Scott had been loud and disruptive during his count. After he had finished count, he called inmate Scott to the Officers' station and issued him a C.C. (Corrective Consultation) for 5-2 (Violation of Count Procedures-All inmates are required to remain silent and sit up in their bunks for Formal Counts). At that time, inmate Scott (who walked with the aid of a four-legged aluminum walker) went into the bathroom, snatched the toilet from the floor, lifted it over his head and smashed it. That's when Officer Graepel called for assistance. Lt. Hobkirk and I went into the open bay dorm and to Scott's bunk. He was reclining and looking at the foot of the bed. All he would say was, "You Mother******s are goin' to have to kill me." He was obviously intoxicated.

The evening meal was in progress by this time but the "F" west inmates had not been allowed to get off their racks (beds) because of the incident. After listening to Scott's statements, I looked across the bay and noticed that there were at least 10 inmates standing and watching. I ordered them back to their racks but they didn't comply.

Lt. Hobkirk and I went back to the Officer's station where I suggested, and Lt. Hobkirk agreed, that we open the inmate exit door when it was "F" dorm's turn to eat, which would allow as many inmates as possible to exit the dorm prior to taking inmate Scott into custody. Tom Mercurio, Don Jones, Ray Graepel and I positioned ourselves in the vestibule in front of the exit door -- Mercurio and Graepel in the front and Jones and I in in the rear but in front of the door. The door was popped and chow was announced. Most of the inmates exited the dorm without incident. Inmate Bryant Brown came around the corner, saw us, and went back into the sleeping area. He reappeared with about nine other inmates who formed a circle around inmate Scott as they all attempted to exit the dorm. I reached back and closed the exit door and they proceeded into us. Of course, when the fight started, we called 10-24 (Literally "Trouble-Send Help". While this could be used for many situations, we traditionally reserve it to communicate that a staff member is about to or has already suffered serious physical harm) and officers responded from the work camp and staff housing.

Inmate Scott went for Sgt. Mercurio and wrapped his arm around Sgt. Mercurio's neck from behind and took him to the floor. Scott was on his back with Sgt. Mercurio on top of him. Sgt. Mercurio was also on his back. Some time during this, I was hit in the nose and my glasses were broken. (They were replaced by the Department of Corrections: $77) Officer Graepel managed to keep the other inmates off of us while Officer Jones and I tried to pry Scott's arm from Sgt. Mercurio's neck. We could not do it. The inmates who had surrounded Scott recognized that he was in some sort of distress before we did. They backed off and let us take Scott to the Officers' station. He was having a seizure. Medical responded and took Scott to the clinic with the aid of an inmate. (This inmate was one of several who were rewarded for their behavior during the riot by being sent to the institution of their choice.)

As we entered the Officer Station, we heard an assistance call that there were officers down behind the dorm. We exited the back door and found several officers unconscious. We dragged them back into the dorm. (In later discussions, we learned that the initial assistance response was staggered - a few at a time. From the control room, none of this could be seen. As the officers rounded the southeast corner of the dorm, the inmates were waiting for the officers and taking them out as they arrived. The officers never had a chance to call and warn the ones behind them.

After getting those officers inside, we noticed that there was a group of about 25 inmates moving down the sidewalk toward "E" dorm, possibly headed for the Protective Custody wing. There were five of us who went outside to break up the crowd: Lt. Robert Hobkirk, Sgt. Steven Logsdon, Sgt. Thomas Mercurio and one more. We were in front of the west canteen when the inmates saw us and came back.

I was kicked in the chest (martial arts style) and fell on my back. I got back up and was blindsided from my right. I got hit on the bony corner of my jaw just below my right ear. It was like turning off a light switch. When I woke up, I was on my left side in a fetal position and getting kicked in the back, face and back of my head. I played 'possum. During this time, I got hit in the head with a rock that required three stitches. When the kicking stopped, I paused for a moment and then looked up. There were four officers in the center of the compound with shotguns and the inmates were running for dorms. I got up and found that the other four officers who were with me were also out. Lt. Hobkirk and Sgt. Mercurio had been stripped of their personal possessions - watches and so forth. Miraculously, I had the OIC key ring and they hadn't rifled me. The key ring had one of those big Folger Adam keys on it that was stuck in my belt with no lanyard (a device that attaches a key ring to our belt) rather than in my pocket and they were in plain view to those who looked.

Very shortly baton (riot) squads were assembled and outfitted. They went about the task of herding the last holdouts into the dorms. These inmates had been pushed to the doors of the nearest dorm. Inmates who refused to go in the dorm were being pushed into dorms that they did not live in and they knew that Master Roster count would identify them as participants. Just before the squad was about to administer a mace-like gas known as C.S. (Orthochlorobenzal Malononitrile), the last inmate was secured in a dorm.

Tommy (Mercurio) and I went to the hospital on the last of eight ambulances that were dispatched to assist us. When we were in the ER sitting side by side in wheelchairs, his wife arrived and walked right past him to the desk to ask where he was. He was beat up so bad that she did not recognize him. His head was swollen up like a grape. He was, in fact, saved by two inmates who picked him up and spirited him away while he was unconscious. If they hadn't, he may not be with us today.

I am almost absolutely positive that the time from the first trouble call until the last inmate was secured was about 15 minutes. It seemed like forever at the time. It did take several more hours to identify the inmates who were involved, confine them and get everyone else back to their proper area. When I got back from the hospital at about midnight, the round up had not begun. Inmate Scott never made it to confinement at Hendry. He was locked in an isolation cell in the clinic.

Lessons Learned

Captain Eric Clark:
"We made many mistakes that day. On the whole, we can say that we ended up on the "up side." No one died. I am sure that it was one of those spontaneous things or the outcome would have been different. Those mistakes for example,

  • I should not have had the OIC (Officer in Charge) ring displayed as I did. I was lucky not to have lost them. As an aside, maybe it is a good thing for someone other than the "White Shirt" to carry the keys. As I said, Lt. Hobkirk was stripped of all his possessions. My keys are always in my pocket now.
  • We probably should not have isolated the incident by letting those who did not wish to be involved leave the dorm. If we had not done that, the incident probably would not have spread outside. The other side of that argument is that the situation in the dorm would not have merited a full scale response at the time. All we had until the scuffle started in the vestibule was a broken toilet and several inmates standing up and refusing my order to sit on their bed.
  • Evidence Handling training at that time was practically nonexistent. The Institutional Investigator lived a good hour away. When the inmates were rounded up in the dorms and taken to the confinement unit, their clothing was all thrown into one corner and therefore rendered useless as evidence. Our lack of proper evidence handling resulted in only four of the inmates involved in the riot getting outside charges. I believe that they got an additional four or five years each and have all been released. This seems such a small price to pay for their actions. It's noteworthy that the instigator, inmate Scott, was not charged, though he did receive disciplinary reports and was transferred to another institution.
  • Until this incident occurred, I leaned toward the male chauvinist viewpoint. I felt that, if something like this happened, the male officers may be so concerned for the females present that they could make a fatal mistake because of their distraction. In reality, there was not enough time to "make that fatal decision" and I observed that female officers had a calming effect on the inmates that may very well have prevented this incident from becoming worse.
  • I also realized that the response in our emergency plans (locate and verify, isolate, evacuate, resolve, debrief) was an automatic response. We did these things to the best of our ability without thinking, "What comes next?"
  • This incident started in the Left wing of "F" dorm. It was an open bay type housing unit with 73 beds assigned in it. It was also our reception area. Since the department tries to locate inmates as close to home as possible, most of these inmates were from the Ft. Lauderdale area and knew each other from outside, which could be a problem if they are from rival gangs, for example. One of the departmental decisions resulting from this was to move the Reception wing to a wing of one of the "T" dorms which had two man cells rather than Open bay type housing.
  • We also learned to respond as a group rather than one or two at a time.
  • Finally, I learned to recognize that a group of inmates who do not respond to a simple order like, "Sit on your rack" is a major indicator of things to come. The "Bandwagon effect" is extremely attractive to inmates.

I came in the next day because I believe that if you don't get back on the horse when it throws you, you won't ever. I took a tour of the confinement area to see if I could identify anyone and to subtly let them know that I was still there."

Where are they now?

The two officers with the most severe injuries, Dodson and Wheeler, could not return to work for any length of time and eventually resigned. Hendry C.I. closed on July 1, 2002.

Today, Eric Clark, who was struck on the top of his head with a rock during the riot, is a Correctional Officer Captain at Brevard C.I.; Tom Mercurio, who was beaten about the head, is a Lieutenant at Hendry's Work Camp, and Ray Graepel is a Sergeant at Copeland Road Prison. Lt. Robert Hobkirk retired, as did John Graf. Alex Beattie did not return to work, deciding that this job was not for him. D. C. (Sonny) Jones is an officer at Hendry C.I. Steve Logsdon suffered a punctured eardrum when an inmate jumped on his back and boxed his ears, and he lost 30% of his hearing in his left ear as a result. He is a Sergeant at Hendry Work Camp. David Williams is a Sergeant at Charlotte CI. Joseph M. Henry is a Sergeant at Central Florida Reception Center. James P. Gregg retired from the Department in 1992 as a Correctional Probation Officer.

Inmate Jimmy Scott is currently at Jackson C.I. serving a life term with a 25-year minimum mandatory sentence for first degree murder. As a result of the riot, he was given disciplinary reports and lost gain time for: unarmed assault, consuming intoxicants, disorderly conduct, verbal disrespect and destruction of state property. He was not prosecuted, though four others were prosecuted and found guilty. He was transferred to Martin C.I. about a month after the riot.

Disturbance at Cross City Correctional Institution

On October 3, 1989 at 6:30 p.m. at Cross City Correctional Institution, a group of about 20 black inmates attack several white inmates near the inmate housing area. Several officers intervene and attempt to break up the assault. The group of black inmates turn on the officers and attack them. One officer is beaten, kicked and knocked unconscious. Two suffer broken jaws and one a concussion. Inmates use pipes and other makeshift weapons during the assault. Additional officers come to the aid of the first group and help the injured to the Control Room area. Tower officers fire four shots (from AR-15s) into the ground to keep the inmates from moving toward the fence or into other areas of the compound. (Keeping the inmates out of the recreation yard where they could pick up weight bars as weapons is a consideration.) It is later learned that the apparent goal of the inmates is to take over the institution.

Local law enforcement is summoned for backup. Officers from the Florida Highway Patrol, Dixie County Sheriff's Office, the Game and Freshwater Fish Commission and Cross City Police Department take position around the perimeter of the institution so that DC officers are free to go inside the prison.

During this time, the attacking group, which grows to between 50 and 75 in size at the height of the disturbance, refuses to return to their specific housing units.

About 30 minutes after the initial incident, a Confrontation Control Force Squad, (a prison version of a SWAT team) including 12 officers armed with shotguns, enters the yard and orders the inmates to return to their housing units. Only then do the inmates comply with the order to return to their quarters.

Initially, three officers are transported to hospitals. The most serious injuries sustained are by Sgt. Larry Edmonds and Sgt. Richard Biss, both of whom receive broken jaws. Four inmates are taken to Shands Hospital: two for injuries sustained at the hands of other inmates, including a fractured skull, and two who sustain seizures which may or may not have been related to the incident.

57 inmates are transferred to Union C.I. after the incident. Cross City C.I.'s main unit is locked down.

At 7:15 p.m. the compound is declared secure and by 7:55 p.m. all inmates have returned to their dormitories. At 8:50 p.m. teams trained to deal with disturbances from nearby institutions arrive to assist with the transfer and relocation of the rioters. Staff response to this point had been timely, appropriate and in accordance with Department rules.


Between 9:00 p.m. and midnight, certain officers are assigned to identify inmate participants in the disturbance and escort them to the visiting park area for processing and transfer to a more secure correctional institution.

Seventeen inmates already in confinement are designated for transfer to make more confinement space available in case there are further problems. All 17 of these inmates report being physically abused by the officers.

In carrying out the process of identifying and transferring inmates, a group of officers go from dormitory to dormitory. It is during this process and the process of moving inmates from confinement that many allegations of physical abuse and destruction of property are made by inmates. In response to these complaints, an intensive investigation is undertaken by the Department Inspector General's Office. The investigation, which includes interviewing over 250 individuals, leads investigators to believe that a number of inmates did suffer physical harm at the hands of officers in the aftermath of the disturbance. The collected testimony and physical evidence indicate that a group of officers, ranging in rank from Captain to Correctional Officer, went through the dormitories on at least two occasions, during which some inmates were abused physically and personal property was destroyed. Two inmates were hospitalized, one suffering a broken jaw and one received injuries which necessitated the surgical removal of his eye.

As a result of the investigation, criminal charges are filed by the State's Attorney against seven correctional officers. Five are found guilty and receive sentences ranging from three to almost seven years in Federal prison. They are also fired by the DC and eight others are suspended.

When a riot or similar incident occurs at a prison, a specialty squad or Rapid Response Team (RRT) from a non-involved institution is brought in to gather the suspects. The RRT platoon concept, which helps officers become familiar with each facility's layout by cross training them at each other's prison compounds, enables the Department to use outside teams to handle such sensitive incidents as that which occurred at Cross City C.I.

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