Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Do the Kochs aim to privatize parole in Fla.?

We see lots and lots of red flags fluttering when we hear the Florida State University Project on Accountable Justice talking about "advancing public safety through risk assessments and community supervision options."

Sounds like soft on crime privatizing parole and probation.

Here's why we're concerned:

1. FSU's "Project on Accountable Justice" is hosting a sales pitch confab on "new approaches" to parole and probation. (It's on Jan. 10 at FSU's College of Law, if you're interested.)

2. Florida State University sold out its economics department to the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers. In 2008, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation gave the department $1.5 million in exchange for final say over hiring professors.

3. On the board of the PAJ is David Rasmussen, dean of the FSU College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. Rasmussen defended the university's deal with the devil the Koch brothers.

The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting reports
What’s just as disturbing as Koch’s heavy-handed move into academia is that David W. Rasmussen, dean of FSU’s College of Social Sciences ... (doesn't) have a problem with having a donor control the hiring of professors based on political leanings.
4. PAJ sounds suspiciously like ALEC, which is of course the Koch-linked corporate dating service for state lawmakers. ALEC has a "Corrections and Re-Entry" working group. And ALEC has been pushing for parole privatization, according to The Nation and The Justice Policy Institute.

Some of the things that PAJ is pushing sounds like the things ALEC. The "Inside ALEC'  publication, for example, features ALEC's proposals for changing the way states manage corrections. Where PAJ touts "evidence-based practices," ALEC promotes "an evidence-based probation program" and "programs that are evidence based."  Where PAJ supports "mutual accountability between partners and the public," ALEC says it favors "bringing accountability to a state’s criminal justice system."

Just guess how ALEC would bring "accountability" to the state's criminal justice system: by requiring defendants to post a bond with a commercial bail agent. You will be shocked, shocked to learn from The Nation that the American Bail Coalition is an executive member of ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections Task Force. Among the coalition's members are the Allegheny Casualty Company, Palmetto Surety Company and American Surety Company.

You can bet if ALEC uses the words "accountable" and "justice," whatever it is they're pushing will be neither. And if PAJ calls itself "neutral," it's anything but.