Legislature wants to privatize prisons, probation officers

Source: Marc Caputo, Herald/Times, March 28, 2011

The Legislature wants to hand over control of prisons and probation services to private companies. The Senate’s plan is the most extreme and unexpected. In what could signal a massive private takeover of public prisons, the Florida Senate quietly slipped language into its newly proposed budget Monday that seeks to give corporations the chance to run correctional facilities and probation services in 18 counties

The move — which could shift nearly $600 million to private firms — surprised prison guards, their unions and even the head of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee, Mike Fasano, who said his committee was opposed to the idea of privatizing prisons when it was proposed by Gov. Rick Scott’s aides….

…The budget language doesn’t appear to favor any one vendor although a leading contender is GEO Group, whose healthcare arm, GEO Care, has contributed at least $126,000 to state parties and candidates since 2009.

The House’s proposed budget, released Friday, takes a far more measured approach to privatizing probation and prisons. It calls for a private operator to run the facilities and services in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Those two counties are included in the Senate’s plan, which seeks to privatize services all the way north to Manatee County.
Budget will package health-care, prison privatization in South Florida
Source: Orlando Sentinel, May 3, 2011
Corrections chief: Private prisons, Whoa Nellie!
Source: Darryl E. Owens, Orlando Sentinel, June 15, 2011

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