Assistant Warden Fired From North Florida Prison

The assistant warden at a north Florida women's prison has been fired following allegations that he had inappropriate relationships with some of the inmates and threatened members of his staff.

Marty Martinez was fired last week from Lowell Correctional Institution, the Florida Department of Corrections reported. He is among 44 prison staff members who have been dismissed since new DOC Secretary Julie Jones took over the agency Jan. 5.

"The Department has zero tolerance for misconduct of any kind," spokesman McKinley Lewis said in a written statement.

According to a 56-page inspector general report, Martinez was commonly referred to by his favorite inmates as ``Marty'' or ``Daddy'' and would spend extended periods talking to young, pretty white or Hispanic women on a daily basis, sometimes in open areas and other times in his locked office where they would remain for up to an hour.

Guards and inmates told investigators that Martinez rarely spoke to inmates who were unattractive. When guards came into conflict with inmates known to be close to Martinez, the inmates would threaten to tell the assistant warden, the report stated.

At one point, female guards uncomfortable with Martinez's behavior reported him to Warden Gus Mazarra. Mazarra told the guards he was unaware of Martinez's conduct but promised to look into it, the report stated. Mazarra remains in command at the prison.

The Miami Herald reports that the six-month investigation began after one guard reported Martinez to the Marion County Sheriff's Office. The guard said Martinez had physically threatened him after he found contraband while conducting a search of two of Martinez's "girlfriends."

No telephone number for Martinez could be found.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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