Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Florida's New Governor Loves Private Prisons

Rick Scott, Florida's new governor, is a big fan of private prisons. Such a big fan in fact that he wants to cut hundreds of state jobs and ship more Florida prisoners to private prisons (likely the Blackwater Correctional Facility, which has been under scrutiny from the moment it was proposed in a last-minute budget amendment by Florida's former speaker of the house, who's currently facing charges of bribery and corruption).

There is one piece of the article I find very interesting; he proposes mandating a 7% cost savings from private prisons (which happens to already be a law in Florida). I don't think any private prisons are able to save that much money and still provide effective services. In fact, numerous reports have been released documenting private prisons' inability to offer significant cost savings, including IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA. I will be interested to see if A) private prisons in Florida are actually able to deliver these savings, and B) if they fail to do so, what the repercussion(s) will be from a governor and state legislature that are seemingly very friendly to the industry.

Speaking of the governor's cozy relationship with the industry, he attended a Super Bowl party at the house of a major Florida lobbyist who represents the GEO Group. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that may not have been the most appropriate place for the governor to have spent his Super Sunday.

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