Friday, August 19, 2011

Florida: Undisclosed Cost of Prison Privatization

The Florida legislature championed the cost savings of privatizing prisons. Florida is on track to privatize 30 prisons. Recently taxpayers were informed that the state must pay about $25 million in costs to more than 4,000 displaced state corrections workers for their accumulated vacation time, sick leave and special compensatory time for working on holidays, reported the Miami Herald.

The hidden expense was never discussed in public last spring when the Legislature pushed ahead with the most ambitious privatization venture in the history of state government. According to the Herald, the prison system — already coping with a series of budget cuts — is forced to find the money.

According to the Herald, Bonnie Rogers, who oversees criminal justice spending Governor Rick Scott’s budget office, was told in an e-mail, “This amount was NOT taken into consideration by the Legislature, even though they were made aware ... This payout may just cripple the agency for next [fiscal year].”

State Senator Mike Fasano chairs a budget panel overseeing prison spending. He opposed prison privatization. He said he plans to hold hearings this fall on the issue. According to the Herald, Fasano accused top lawmakers of bowing to the political influence of a major private prison operator which is expected to bid on the regional privatization venture.

To read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment