Florida’s Misguided Privatization Push

11:07 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA

"prison guard tower"

"prison guard tower" by Rennet Stowe on flickr

Florida’s Misguided Privatization Push

Florida is one of a few states that is seeing a wave of pro-privatization, anti-government rhetoric wreak havoc on employee unions and public services after electing a super conservative governor.  This same governor has also, with the help of longtime privatization advocate and state budget chair JD Alexander, pushed for Florida to embark on the most ambitious prison privatization scheme in history.  The state is currently in the process of privatizating the correctional services of 18 counties, covering nearly 30 facilities.  Thousands of state employees will lose their jobs as an inherently governmental function is turned over to a profit-driven private industry with a long history of human rights abuses and failure to deliver on promised cost-savings.  However, conservatives never seem to concerned with how much their bogus strategies wind up costing the state, as is evidenced by Scott’s mandatory drug-testing program for welfare recipients that has already wound up costing taxpayers far more than its anticipated savings.  Hopefully though the state legislature will come to realize that privatization is an experiment that has consistently failed, and they need look no further than their own state to see just how poorly the industry has performed, and how undeserving it is of being rewarded for its failures 

But it’s not just the headlong dive into privatization that’s got me concerned.  In addition to giving this blatant handout to an industry that donated $1,000,000 in the last election cyclethe state Legislature has just gutted the agency charged with overseeing medical care for the state’s prisoners.  JD Alexander, who has been arguably the biggest proponent of privatizing the states’ prisons since he tried to ram through a last-minute budget amendment last year forcing the state to send more prisoners to private facilities, is the Chairman of the Budget Committee that failed to appropriate funds for the agency.  So not only is the state handing over operations of prisons to private companies, it also failed to fund an agency that would have some oversight over an industry notorious for being able to evade it.

Making matters worse, Governor Scott’s office just pressured state DOC officials to cancel a contract with a separate monitor who was set to oversee the state’s planned privatization of even more prisoner health care.   Read the rest of this entry →