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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott picks Crews as state prisons chief



Gov. Rick Scott on Monday will announce a new secretary for the Department of Corrections: Mike Crews, who is currently the agency's No. 2 official, holding the title of deputy secretary.

Scott's communications director, Melissa Sellers, confirmed the decision Sunday amid widespread speculation that Crews was Scott's choice.

Crews will succeed Ken Tucker, whose last retirement becomes official on Dec. 28. Crews, like Tucker, was a long-time official of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement before joining DOC. Crews will be Scott's third prisons chief in less than two years. The governor selected a highly-regarded former Indiana corrections director, Edwin Buss, who was forced out after eight months following clashes with the governor's office. Then came Tucker, who was more of a caretaker because he long ago planned to retire in March 2013 under the state's deferred retirement option program, known as DROP.

Crews will take charge at a time when a state court has just dealt the agency a major setback by striking down the planned outsourcing of all inmate health care services in most of the state. The agency is appealing that decision.

Florida's prison system is the nation's third largest, with more than 100,000 inmates and an annual budget of more than $2 billion.

[Last modified: Sunday, December 16, 2012 3:37pm]


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