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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary


For Immediate Release
September 12, 2003
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

Statement by Secretary James V. Crosby, Jr. About A Federal Lawsuit Filed Today Against the Department of Corrections

Every day, our correctional officers supervise felons in prisons throughout the state who are convicted of violent crimes such as murder, rape and assault.

Daily they face life-threatening situations, as we saw in the recent tragic murder of one of our officers. Despite this danger, they are required to show restraint when faced with these situations, using chemical agents instead of force or weapons that could cause permanent harm to aggressive inmates.

The use of chemical agents is an accepted practice not only by correctional officers in prisons, but also by law enforcement officers in subduing non-incarcerated persons during arrests. Additionally, the use of chemical agents has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

The Department has a detailed written procedure in place to ensure that officers use chemical agents safely and under proper circumstances including a medical review of the inmate's health status after the use of chemical agents.

I am committed to the safety of our correctional officers and my legal counsel will aggressively defend our practices.

James V. Crosby, Jr.
Secretary
Florida Department of Corrections