Thursday, May 10, 2012

Michigan Repeating Florida's Mistakes?

Michigan, a state that has already had a bad experience with privatizing prisons, is back at it again, like an abused spouse returning to her mate.  The House and Senate are considering budget proposals, put forth by (guess who!) Republicans, that would privatize multiple prisons, including juvenile facilities.  Republicans claim they can save more than $11 million dollars, despite a growing body of evidence showing that privatization doesn't save money, and without any supporting evidence.  In fact, the state's last foray into privatization ended when it determined its private juvenile prison cost more than about 90% of the government facilities to operate.  The budget could also cut 580 positions from the department of corrections, including librarians and support staff, because, hey, fuck those prisoners.

The real kicker of the whole situation is that none of the Republicans pushing the measure decided it would be a good idea to consult with the Department of Corrections about how to operate prisons, much like the situation in Florida (which ended up costing the head of their DOC his job when he challenged the privatization effort).  I imagine that has something to do with the fact that the GEO Group, which will likely get the prisoners to be transferred because it already owns the aforementioned expensive-as-hell facility in the state, has hired the former Speaker of the House (a Republican) as its chief lobbyist.

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