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Ron DeSantis taps Trump’s ex-federal prison chief to lead Florida corrections

President Donald Trump speaks to Gov.-elect Kristi Noem, R-S.D., during a meeting with newly elected governors in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Washington. From left, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, D-Ill., Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., Trump, Noem, and Gov.-elect Mike DeWine, R-Ohio. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In a rush of new appointments days before his inauguration, Governor-elect Ron DeSantis tapped Mark Inch, the former director of the federal bureau of prisons and a retired two-star Army general to lead the Florida Department of Corrections.

Inch's appointment marks the first major hire of an agency head who hails from outside Florida. The transition team had previously said they were  recruiting out-of-state, but the only picks that had been previously announced were of Florida public officials, lobbyists or business-people.

Inch's time as chief of the federal Department of Justice's prison arm was brief. He was appointed by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in August 2017, then resigned unexpectedly in May 2018. 

The New York Times later reported that Inch told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein he was tired of the administration flouting “departmental norms.” And he felt that Sessions largely excluded him from major staffing, budget and policy decisions, according to the Times, in addition to being caught in an ideological war between Sessions and Jared Kushner, who disagreed on criminal justice reform.

During his career in the Army, Inch was the commanding general of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to the transition team's announcement, and he advised senior Army officials on policing, rule of law and detainee operations.

When it comes to criminal justice reform, Inch wrote a December op-ed in The Daily Caller in which he supports the federal First Step Act and said that "rehabilitation is an honorable and integral calling of the corrections professional."