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Florida Corrections Chief Fires 9 at Top

March 15, 2006

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Florida’s new Corrections Department chief, brought in to clean up a scandal-ridden system, fired nine prison officials Wednesday, including the warden at Florida State Prison and the assistant warden at the system’s medical center.

Corrections Secretary James McDonough said warden Michael Rathmann and assistant warden Lamar Griffis ``do not have my trust and confidence.″

In all, two regional directors, four wardens and three assistant wardens were dismissed Wednesday.

McDonough’s housecleaning followed a report Tuesday from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that concluded McDonough’s predecessor, James Crosby, tried to shut down an investigation into possible criminal activity among employees in the prison system.

The department came under scrutiny after officers were arrested on steroid abuse charges and some were accused of sexual assault. There were also questions about prison contracts and hiring, including one employee allegedly hired only to help a prison softball team.

Gov. Jeb Bush forced Crosby to resign last month after he became part of a wide-ranging investigation.

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