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How Nine Florida Republicans Sandbagged the Private Prison Industry

By       Message WILLIAM FISHER     Permalink
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Well, it wasn't for lack of intense lobbying by those in favor -- largely fiscal hawks and those who received substantial campaign contributions from private prison interests -- or those opposed -- the union, trying to protect 4,000 jobs, and lawmakers and public policy organizations who didn't think it was a good idea for private companies to run prisons, and who doubted that the promised savings would ever appear.


Sen. Mike Fasano, the Republican who led the charge against privatization, told James Rosico of the Associated Press that the bill was "bad public policy."


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His reward? Losing the chairmanship of the Senate budget panel that oversees spending on prisons and the courts.


Some legislators simply felt that public safety, including corrections, shouldn't be contracted out. Others doubted that the state would ever see the promised savings. A delegation of state prison guards, sitting in the gallery, let loose a shout of joy.

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Thus the largest prison privatization in US history crashed and burned,



But many familiar with Florida politics think this is only Round One. They expect prison privatization to come back to the legislative calendar in the near future.


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The AP reports that Florida already has seven privately-run prisons.

"Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), based in Nashville, runs the Bay, Graceville and Lake City correctional facilities, and South Florida's Moore Haven correctional facility, its website says. The GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut), headquartered in Boca Raton, operates South Florida's South Bay correctional facility and Broward Transition Center, and Blackwater correctional facility in the Panhandle, according to its website."


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William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)

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