02/10/2006

Head of Florida prison system resigns under pressure

The Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- Florida's governor ousted the head of the state prison system Friday after months of questions about illegal activities by guards and top prison officials.

State Corrections Secretary James Crosby, a former warden, resigned under pressure. He had led the nation's third-largest corrections system since January 2003.

The department has been under intense scrutiny in recent months amid allegations of steroid abuse, sexual assaults and the arrest of an employee allegedly hired only to help a prison softball team.

Gov. Jeb Bush did not explain his reasons for demanding Crosby's resignation Friday. The governor had recently expressed confidence in Crosby's leadership.

Bush named as interim secretary James McDonough, who had directed his Drug Control office since 1999.

Crosby, a former warden at Florida State Prison, had worked in the prison system since 1975.

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