Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Big Move for CCA in Ohio

Ohio's governor, John Kasich, has been looking to privatize more of his state's prison system from practically the day he took office.  He and the privateers secured a victory on that front last week, when the state sold one of its prisons to CCA.  MTC also made out, securing contracts to run 2 other Ohio facilities.  This plan has been roundly denounced by critics as little more than handout to wealthy and politically-connected firms at taxpayer expense, which is exactly what it is.

This story isn't as bad as is could have been though; the state was originally planning on selling up to 5 prisons to close a budget gap, but plans changed somewhere along the line.  I believe that the lawsuit filed by ProgressOhio challenging the proposal likely had some influence on the Governor's decision to reign in his desire to privatize so much of the system, so quickly.  Considering CCA's influence in the state house (Kasich's former chief of staff runs a lobbying firm employed by CCA and the DOC Director spent 5 years as their consultant), it's a good sign that the contract mandates 5% cost-savings.  On the one hand, I fear the ramifications of a company trying to adhere to such a policy (such as cutting corners, which the industry is notorious for), but at the same time this gives the state an enforcement mechanism to ensure these companies live up to their promises.

1 comment: