Suwannee Democrat

Local News

June 6, 2013

Warden Scott Crews happy to be back in Mayo

Mayo — Mayo Correctional Institution Warden Scott Crews has 24 years experience with the Florida Department of Corrections. This is his second time working at Mayo C.I. He became warden there in July, 2012.

“I got to Mayo the first time in 2008,” said Crews. “I had made assistant warden out in the panhandle of Florida in a little ol’ town called Bonifay. It’s just slightly bigger than Mayo. I actually loved it out there. It’s beautiful.”

An opportunity arose to come to Mayo C.I., he said, and work with former warden Martha Humphries.

“I jumped on that one, just to get a little bit closer to the house, because I was living by myself and eating canned ravioli and tuna fish,” said Crews. “That was a long way away from my wife, so I was ready to get back home.”

Crews was born and raised in Lake City and has two children. His 12-year-old daughter attends Lafayette High School.

Crews said he believes this is his 11th assignment with the DOC in his 24-year career.

“I’ve moved once or twice and I’ve had to move my family once or twice,” he said. “I’m going to tell you, if I could stay right here at Mayo, I would never leave, because my family loves it here and I love it here.”

Crews said the school system, as well as the people in the community are great, and he wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. He also highly commended all the Mayo C.I. employees.

“Administrators that come to work at Mayo C.I., and there have been quite a few, don’t change anything,” he said. “They just reap the rewards of the fine people they get to work with at the prison, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”

Crews has also worked at two different regional DOC offices, as well as the central office that involved a lot of travel and time away from his family, which he said was the downside of those assignments.

“But, I wouldn’t exchange the experience for anything,” he said.

Mayo C.I. was established in 1983. The new annex houses a little over 1,500 inmates and the work camp houses about 320.

“The main unit up there by the highway is currently closed down,” said Crews. “It could currently house about 1,800 if the need be.”

The only time it would be used, he said, is if there was an emergency, such as a category 5 hurricane bearing down on a DOC facility in southern Florida, whereby inmates would need to be transferred to a safer location.

Crews said 67 percent of the employees at Mayo C.I. reside in Lafayette County. There are a total of 360 funded positions at the facility and currently about 45 vacancies in security.

“Annually, a little over $17 million in salaries walk out those gates,” said Crews. “That probably has a slight impact on the economy here in Mayo,” he said. “I imagine it would. It’s a lot of money.”

Martha Humphries, Crews said, was the first female correctional officer hired at Mayo C.I.

“She got to retire way ahead of me,” Crews said, laughing. “I’m going to get there one day.”

Currently there are about 300 inmates serving life sentences at Mayo C.I. and about 160 inmates serving over 30 years, Crews said.

“Some of them are 40-50 years old, so they’re probably going to die right there in prison and they’ll never get out,” he said.

There are three inmate work squads assigned to Lafayette County. In February, Crews said, they had to suspend one of their work squads due to budgetary issues until July 1. In 2012, the work squads who do different projects in Lafayette County, worked over 76,000 man hours.

“It was about $650,000 in savings to the taxpayers,” said Crews. “That was the cost savings the inmates did for you.”

Inmates at Mayo C.I. are offered several programs in order to prepare them for the world outside the prison walls when they get released. Crews said they strive to help all inmates obtain their G.E.D. before being released. If they’re not ready for a G.E.D., he said, they try to get them into a basic literacy program.

“The better we can return them to society, the better off all of us are,” he said. “Our recidivism rate just a few short years ago hovered around 33 percent, which is one-third of the inmates were predicted to return to prison within three years. That’s pretty high. I’m happy to say that recidivism rate is somewhere around 27 percent now.”

Crews said they have made an impact with the prison inmate programs and their intent is to try to give them a better life when they return to the community.

Mayo C.I., Crews said, is hiring. Not only do they train new employees, but they pay them while they’re training them, he added.

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