Gov. DeSantis taps new Department of Corrections boss

The new leader will helm the third largest prison system in the nation.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday named Ricky Dixon as Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections.

Dixon replaces outgoing Secretary Mark Inch, who is retiring. Inch took over at the DOC in January 2019.

Dixon is no stranger to the state prison system. A 25-year veteran, the Florida Gulf Coast University grad has held numerous positions throughout his career. He most recently served Deputy Secretary, a second-in-command position that oversaw the agency’s overall operations.

Dixon will lead the under-staffed agency with a few more tools than his predecessor.

DeSantis on Wednesday announced plans boost DOC pay and hiring bonuses.

The plan would see base pay for new corrections officers jump to $38,750, a 16% bump from the current $33,500 starting salary. Current corrections officers, meanwhile, will receive a $1,500 check and state probation officers will receive a $3,000 one next month.

Additionally, all new officers will receive a $3,000 bonus. Applicants who already have a correctional officer certification can tack on another $1,000 and signing up to work at a high vacancy institution will net another $1,000, for a max starting bonus of $5,000.

“As so many cities and states choose to disrespect, degrade and defund the work of men and women in uniform, we want Florida to continue valuing them today, tomorrow and for generations to come,” DeSantis said in a news release.

The bonus plan comes as DOC is struggling with high turnover due to low pay and long hours. In September, Deputy Secretary Ricky Dixon said 5,000 of the 18,000 security staff positions at DOC were vacant.

He said for every 200 new hires, 400 leave a month, and that exodus comes with a massive price tag — DOC spent more than $103 million on overtime pay in the 2020-21 fiscal year. The staffing challenges led DOC to shutter three prisons as well as 27 work camps, and five community release centers this year.

Florida is the third largest prison system in the nation.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • Bill Smith

    November 19, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    Ricky Dixon is a good man. He will pour his heart and soul into leading an agency that is more complex than the average person can even imagine. This is one of the best things to happen for the department of corrections, for both staff and offender , in a very long time.
    I wish Secretary Dixon well and hope and pray he receives the support from both the Legislature and staff that he has earned.

    • Maria Fernandez

      November 20, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      You should follow Ricky Dixons career. He has pushed through with charges that others were forced to resign or fired. He is a ass kisser that is all! The reason Mark Inch quit and the three prior to him is because no one really wants change within the department. And who better to cover corruption than the master of it

    • Mike

      November 21, 2021 at 9:13 am

      Have you ever met Ricky Dixon? you wanna wash your hands and alcohol if you touch him he’s that sleazy!

  • Ila C. Bryant

    November 19, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    I have appreciated Secretary Mark Inch as he poured his life into improving this difficult system. May God richly bless him and his family in his retirement years.
    I am sincerely praying for Secretary Ricky Dixon, as he takes over this overwhelming task of the complicated Florida prison system. I am dedicated to praying that Mr. Dixon can concentrate on the highly inhumane treatment of our inmates and teach the officers to respect our inmates with decency instead of the atrocious situations they are placed in many times. May he please continue to incentivize the camps for placement of those that are wanting rehabilitation. Thank you. Blessings.
    Colleen Bryant

    • Diana Clark

      November 23, 2021 at 5:24 am

      I feel sorry for a wonderful but wasted prayer. Research Mr. Dixon’s career.
      He’s a slime ball and a dirt bag.We need a humanitarian in that position, so that our criminal justice system can catch up to the rest of the civilized nations!!!

  • Heartbroken

    November 20, 2021 at 12:17 am

    I 🙏 pray he uses all this extra funds to retrain the officers we have now and that the new one’s are not as abusive as we have now God bless him in his new journey 🙏 ❤ this is a tall task to take on .

  • Sarah

    November 20, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    Well well you act as though it is Mark Inches fault so much money was spent in 2020/ 2021 . Come down from your high rocky cloud cause the truth is , we had the year of the Covid .
    Mr Inch was forced out cause he was fighting tooth and toe nail to better that prison system , to rid it of the abusive officers, clean up the prisons, guess ole ronnie couldn’t allow that but it is better to pack them in the prisons like sardines in a can than to release those who have done over 85% or has proven they have rehabilitated.
    Charles Vandersnick should have been released on a medical leave for see he suffered big time over greed and power, Charles passed away in August this year he was to be released October of this year.
    Every bill that went on ronnies desk to better those prisons which are more like concentration camps. The officers has rules they are suppose to follow,yet they do as they want when they want . Just pray that Mr Ricky Dixon does clean out the corrupt ,abusing officers. I pray for Mr Inch and I pray the Ricky that he will make changes and get this whole system cleaned up and give families by their members and stop the over charging with the phone system and trintyy 12.40 for 25 colored pencils , come on you can buy the same pencils at wal mart for 3.97 .this is nothing but robbery. Then not allowing us to send cards, stamps supplies which you say has to be bought in canteen , and what is sent to inmate will be scanned and sent to their tablets. How’s this going to work when it takes two weeks to even get their mail now. Not going to and I will be one of the first to sign the petition to shut your corrupt systems down .

  • Margie Santiago

    November 21, 2021 at 10:47 am

    Mr Inch tried his best. He was fighting against those who don’t want the system fixed for the better. They just want to cram more inmates in to make more money. They need to educate inmates for success upon release.
    It’s a losing battle especially if they got a butt kisser in charge.
    Praying for all involved.

Comments are closed.


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