I’ll spare you a long recap of all the turmoil that keeps arising in Florida as Republicans try to repay the private prison industry for its generous campaign contributions (nearly $1 million in the 2010 cycle alone) by trying to force through the largest, most expansive prison privatization scheme in human history.
Long story short, they tried to force it through as a budget amendment last year, which the state supreme court ruled unconstitutional. The head of the DOC lost his job for opposing that measure, because hey, who’s the head of the department of corrections to say that privatizing half the system is a bad idea? After that shady deal failed, they tried to pass it through the legislature, but that plan was shot down by a group of legislators that hadn’t been bought off by the industry. A state senator lost his chairmanship of a committee for opposing that measure. So you would think that this would probably be an indication to the pro-privatization lobby in the legislature that turning over control of 24 or so prisons maybe isn’t in the best interest of Floridians, and that they should just stop. Either that or all the evidence that came out showing the state hasn’t saved money from its past experiences with privatization, and that it would be on the hook for $25 million owed to state employees who would lose their jobs if the plan went through.
But no; privatization proponents know no bounds. They tried to, once again, insert the privatization as a last-minute budget amendment. That’s the same action that totally rubbed many people the wrong way, that had previously been ruled unconstitutional by the court. Thankfully, this measure was thwarted by some of the same politicians who have stood firm against the overwhelming influence of the industry, including Paula Dockery, who called the move “abhorrent.” Which is a far nicer term than I would have used.