Lee County sheriff responds to probation overhaul idea

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A Florida lawmaker wants to overhaul the state probation system. Right now, it’s run by the Florida Department of Corrections, which also runs the state’s prisons.

A recent WINK News investigation revealed constant penny pinching has led to less supervision.

Representative Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, wants to spend $250,000 on a study to see if local sheriffs could do a better job.

“It’d be far-better off being run by the sheriffs, who are more accountable to the people and are there on the local level and can do a better job of overseeing it, so that’s what we’re going to do,” Corcoran said.

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott, who once worked as a probation officer, said lawmakers should instead focus on fixing the current system.

“Fixing a system that is workable and viable makes more sense to me than trying to reinvent the wheel in 67 different counties across the state,” Scott said while pointing out the additional salaries, equipment, and training costs.

“If the state can’t fund it adequately now, well then who’s going to fund it at the Sheriff’s office? It’s certainly not going to be me.”

The new Department of Corrections Secretary, Julie Jones, says she welcomes the review, but does not expect it to show the system would be better-run locally.