Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Make-or-break FL prison privatization vote today

Teamster FDOC correctional officers at a Capitol news conference today.
This afternoon, Florida's Senate is expected to vote on a massive prison privatization proposal that will cost 3,800 jobs in order to save less than 1 percent of the state's corrections budget. Oh, and it will make a private prison company richer.

Yesterday, a Republican Senator introduced an amendment to turn the privatization bill into a study. That would have effectively killed the bill. The amendment was narrowly defeated by one vote.

We may be defeated in a tie, but nothing is certain. Today, Teamsters, union allies and friends in the communiy are flooding the Senate with calls to oppose this horrible bill. Two dozen Teamster correctional officers are at the Capitol now, urging their state senators to vote for safety, jobs and fairness and against the privatization bill.  In the photo above, Bill Curtis, a correctional officer at Charlotte Correctional Institute, speaks at a news conference held by Sen. Maria Sachs, an opponent of the bill.

Here's the kind of crap the opposition is pulling: Last week, a group called "South Florida Prison Ministries," and the Florida Chamber of Commerce put out a statement supporting prison privatization. The Private Corrections Institute exposed them today:
Claudio Perez, the CEO of South Florida Jail Ministries, in an op-ed and a letter delivered to the Florida Senate, expressed his support for the privatization plan...the same lobbyist that formerly represented South Florida Jail Ministries, and currently lobbies for the partner organization of another of Perez’s groups, is a paid lobbyist for GEO Group. (Ed: GEO Group is a private prison company that stands to benefit from the bill.)
And this:
...some of the sources mentioned by the Senate Rules Committee in support of cost savings through prison privatization had undisclosed biases. For example, the Committee cited research by the Reason Foundation, but failed to note that Reason receives funding from private prison companies, including GEO Group and CCA. Reason’s 2009 donor list included GEO as a Platinum Level supporter while CCA was a Gold Level donor.
Nice, hunh?

We'll keep you posted.