Ohio Governor John Kasich is yet another cookie-cutter republican looking to defund and cripple unions, slash taxes for the wealthy, and turn over government functions to his cronies in the private sector. No news there. However, I was not aware that he is also apparently incapable of thinking rationally about his budget.
Kasich has proposed cutting more than $30 million from his department of corrections budget for this year, the largest cut the department will have ever taken in its history if enacted. He plans to do this primarily by privatizing more of the state's prison system. So aside from the fact that privatization doesn't actually save any money compared to government operation of a prison, he uses some odd logic to justify his cuts.
"By transitioning to a blended public and private corrections system, officials hope to cover the budget gap, decrease the increasing violence in the system and stabilize both funding and the violence."
Well guess what, Mr. Kasich, you're absolutely, in no way shape or form, going to wind up with lower levels of violence by handing control of your system to an industry notorious for inefficient management and poor training of its staff. Any unfortunate Ohio prisoner who gets transferred to a private facility will merely become a commodity to the industry, and will most certainly face crueler conditions and less constructive activities (remember, idle hands are the devil's playthings).
Thankfully, though, not all of Mr. Kasich's constituents are as simple-minded as he. A veteran CO took the mic at a recent news conference and caused a mild uproar when he began questioning the motives behind the move, especially in light of the fact that Gary Mohr, Kasich's new secretary of corrections, used to be employed by CCA, and the generous campaign contributions CCA made to Kasich's campaign. The CO, Bob White, "was escorted out of the building by fellow correctional employees after swearing during a third visit to the microphone. But he left to a standing ovation from part of the crowd, several who shouted in agreement that they were as angry as he was."
I'd have been yelling right there with you. Thank you Bob White for having some sense, and the huevos to stand up for what's right.