Statement by Secretary of Corrections
Michael W. Moore
The jury has rendered its decision in State of Florida vs. Lucas.
The Department of Corrections employs 27,000 people and the overwhelming majority of them do their jobs in a thoroughly professional manner every day. I am proud of them.
I would like to reaffirm the positions we have taken and the reforms made to the prison system since the death of inmate Frank Valdez in July 1999.
It must be remembered that we are the ones who opened an internal investigation into the death of Valdez and cooperated fully with other law enforcement agencies in their investigations. We made the necessary reforms to the system - at Florida State Prison and at prisons throughout the state - to prevent incidents like this from occurring again.
Some of these reforms include:
The installation of 24-hour surveillance cameras on Q-wing at FSP
The policy whereby uses of force involving inmates and cell extractions are video recorded
The reform of our internal investigation process by which allegations of inmate abuse are reported and examined
The formal agreement between DOC and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to jointly investigate inmate homicides
We have no tolerance for abuse of inmates in our custody. Fortunately, such cases are very rare. When they do occur, our inspector general's office investigates them thoroughly and efficiently. If allegations of inmate abuse are substantiated, we will take the appropriate action to discipline any employees involved. If necessary, we will also refer the allegations to the appropriate authorities for additional review and action as they see fit.
The primary goal of the Department of Corrections is public safety. The reforms we initiated will ensure it is achieved.