Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Florida Looks to Privatize Some Prisons

A Senate budget proposal in Florida to replace some state prisons with new privately-run ones would lead to such overcrowding that inmates would be released early from prison.

The bill and attached amendments would require the department of Corrections to privatize an unidentified 1,350-bed prison, saving the state about $14 million, and turn over an additional 1,463 work-release beds to private interests at Orlando's Central Florida Reception Center, the South Florida Reception Center and other facilities in Columbia County and in Gainesville — saving a reported $8.2 million according Palm .

The Senate proposals would also mean not filling 2,249 vacant positions within the corrections department, which would force the closing of five state-run prisons. That in turn would mean having to release 2,519 prisoners early to comply with a federal court order preventing prison overcrowding.

Florida has 103,915 the third largest prison population in the country, behind only California and Texas. Florida was one of only 23 states to increase its prison population in 2009. In fact, Florida had the second largest increase in actual prisoners behind only Pennsylvania.

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