Sunday, January 22, 2012

FL Teamsters to descend on Statehouse to fight prison plan

Sheila Jewett and Leila Kirkland, from Florida State Prison, Nathan Preston from New River C.I., and Nathan's wife Staci. They came to the Statehouse to lobby against privatization.
Florida Teamster correctional officers will descend on Tallahassee this week to urge lawmakers to kill two nasty prison privatization bills. Elected officials will hear plenty from Teamsters, their families and their neighbors at hearings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Some are driving all the way from Miami.

Teamsters are also emailing, calling and sending letters to their local editors. Here's a terrific letter to the Cape Coral Daily Breeze from Clinton Larkins, a correctional officer at Hendry Work Camp in Ft. Myers.
I believe the ethics complaint the Teamsters Union has filed against Gov. Rick Scott is just what we need to expose this tainted bidding process for what it is. Gov. Scott and the State Legislature passed a bill in May to allow prisons in 18 south Florida counties to privatize. Now we find out Geo Group and CCA, the two private companies currently bidding on the operations of the prisons, have donated $1 million to Gov. Scott and state politicians.
Is that the price the governor and the state are willing to put on public safety?
Privatization will not save the state money, will result in the loss of jobs and put our communities at risk.
Prison privatization is not a done deal and now is the time for the state to pull back requests for proposals and remove Geo Group and CCA from the process altogether.
I urge my fellow officers and all Florida residents to contact their legislators and tell them to halt the ill-conceived plan to privatize our prisons. Our government should be by and for the people, not one that is bought and controlled by big corporations.
Clinton Larkins
Fort Myers