Friday, January 13, 2012

Whoa! Now FL wants to privatize the prisons (but we knew that)

So good to his cronies.
Late-breaking news from Florida (isn't that always the way before a three-day weekend?)

David Royse at the News Service of Florida broke the story:
After being rebuffed by a judge for its effort to privatize several prisons because of the way lawmakers went about it, the Legislature will try again to shed several prisons, this time doing it in statute.
The Senate Rules Committee on Friday quietly released a proposal and scheduled a hearing for this coming Wednesday to discuss the proposed committee bill (SPB 7172), which would require the Department of Corrections to privatize all prisons and other correctional facilities in 18 counties in the Southern half of the state.
Private companies wishing to bid on the prisons – which could go to multiple companies or in one big contract to just one company – must be able to find 7 percent cost savings to the state to get the contract.

The Legislature passed nearly the same measure last year, but it did it in the fine print of the state budget known as proviso language, rather than passing a bill that went through the committee process. That violated the Florida Constitution, Judge Jackie Fulford ruled in September. That decision is on appeal currently.
Here's our own Ken Wood, promising to fight the proposal:
We've been saying all along that these proposed prison closures are about turning Florida's prisons over to for-profit corporations. This is payback to the powerful prison corporations that spend millions on lobbyists and political donations.

Both the privatization bill and these closures are being rushed through without any public input and zero transparency. We have no evidence that privatizing prisons would save money and plenty of evidence that it won't. Closing and privatizing prisons would devastate the dedicated correctional officers, their families and nearby small businesses.

When will these corporate-backed politicians do what's right for the people of Florida?
(If you haven't been following, the Teamsters represent 20,000 Florida Department of Corrections Officers.)