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Florida DOC Clears Itself of Racism Charges

The September 2001 issue of PLN reported on a series of lawsuits filed by black prison employees against the Florida Department of Corrections, as well as racist brutality by Florida prison guards. Florida DOC Secretary Michael Moore at the time promised to investigate the multitude of allegations concerning racism and racist behavior within the Department. On August 28, 2001, Moore announced the investigation's conclusion, saying there was no evidence of racism or racial discrimination within the DOC. Moore characterized allegations to the contrary as "anecdotal" and lacking sufficient evidence upon which to act.

"I am personally offended by racial misconduct and discrimination and pledge to vigorously address and resolve any such allegations within the department," Moore said in a press release. Moore had yet to release the actual report to media at the time of his press release.

State Senator Kendrick Meek (DMiami), one of the legislators who pushed for the investigation due to the large number of complaints of racist discrimination that his office had received, said he was eager to review the report and how the DOC reached its conclusions. "I want to see that because it has to be a work of art. I was there in person; I heard what the people said. ... there's no justice in that department," Meek said.

Moore had said the DOC would improve their posting of job opportunities to respond to complaints by black guards that they are often passed over for promotions. Meek wondered why the state needed to improve things if it found nothing discriminatory about the job postings. "It's amazing how they can take corrective action but find no wrongdoing," Meek said.

The Florida DOC claims that seven full time investigators worked on the report, interviewed more than 300 employees, and will "continue to monitor" four prisons: Tomoka Correctional Institution, Lake Correctional Institution, Marion Correctional Institution and the North Florida Reception Center. Presumably these prisons need "monitoring" because everything is fine. Tellingly, the issue of racist brutality and discrimination against prisoners is a non-issue and does not even merit investigation or a response. In the meantime, employment discrimination suits by black employees are still pending.

Source: St. Petersburg Times.

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