Allison DeFoor is an Episcopal priest, and serves as Canon to the Ordinary to the Bishop of the Diocese of Florida, in Jacksonville. He is married to the Honorable Randy Poitevent DeFoor, a longtime Jacksonville native. Previously he served parishes in four prisons around Tallahassee, and as an assistant at Grace Mission, an inner city mission there. He has an extensive background in criminal justice, including service as a prosecutor, public defender, judge and was the elected Sheriff of Monroe County. A former law professor, he was the founding chair of the Project on Accountable Justice at FSU. He has degrees in law, criminology and theology. While Chair of Tallahassee Community College, he oversaw the opening of the first prison ever built on the campus of a community college. But, his real passion is for prisoners. (Lk. 4:14-21).
Dr. DeFoor was active in a small group of reformers who undertook to reform the justice system in Key West and the Florida Keys. Following the Miami Herald’s series "Smuggler's Island" in 1980, the group was successful in electing an honest state attorney. Subsequently, the reform efforts resulted in the indictments of the former state attorney, former city and county attorney, the Public Defender, and 8% of the attorneys. The Key West Police Department was RICO’d, and a reform sheriff demanded polygraph tests of his deputies and almost half resigned.
DeFoor became head of the Narcotics Task Force and was subsequently elected as county judge at the age of 28. He later served as a circuit judge and was elected Sheriff of Monroe County. In 1990 DeFoor was the Republican Nominee for Lt. Gov. of Florida as running mate of Gov. Bob Martinez. Subsequently, Dr. DeFoor was active as a lawyer and businessman. He served as a law professor at the University of Miami, and a member of the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar. He started his own law firm, the largest in the circuit; he was a director of a bank and pharmaceutical company. He also served as a trustee of numerous boards including the Florida Chamber Foundation, Florida Historical Society, Associated Industries of Florida, and Florida Tax Watch. Upon moving to Jacksonville in 2015, he was invited to serve as a member of the editorial board of the Florida Times-Union newspaper.
A seventh-generation Floridian, Dr. DeFoor has been concurrently active in conservation. He was a trustee of the Florida Audubon Society, Florida Land Trust Association, and 1000 Friends of Florida. He served as Everglades Czar to Gov. Jeb Bush. In 2014, he chaired passage of Amendment 1, authorizing the largest land protection efforts in world history. It passed with 71% of the vote in Florida.
It is an honor and a privilege for an old prison priest to be involved in such a successful effort at making sure folks do not go back.