Monday, October 24, 2011

CCA Silencing Dissent

A sort of bizarre and depressing story out of Florida this morning, particularly Southwest Ranches, where local residents are adamantly opposed to the construction of a new immigration detention facility.  Florida is one of only 2 states that requires private prison operators to comply with public records laws (called "Sunshine laws" in Florida), whereby government agencies must disclose records to the public upon request.  Public records laws are essential to a functioning democracy because they permit the public to review government operations.

So despite the fact that private prison operators perform an inherently governmental service, and the fact that Florida's courts have mandated that private prison operators comply with public records laws, CCA doesn't seem to have gotten the message.  At a town council meeting last month, one resident of Southwest Ranches was informed that the town council was prohibited from talking about the proposed immigration detention center.  Why?  Because CCA asked them not to talk.  That's right - a corporation planning on building a private prison that many local residents are opposed to succeeded in silencing the local government and preventing it from discussing the proposal with citizens.  This is a blatant slap in the face of representative democracy and a shining example of how devoted governments can be to serving the interests of corporations.

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