Florida has moved a step closer to privatizing prisons in the southern tip of the state. Jesse Russell reports.
A bill was passed out of the Senate committee on Monday in spite of public comment that weighed heavily against privatization due to employment and public safety concerns.
Lt. Mike Riley told the committee that a 2005 study shows private prisons overcharged the state of Florida $13 million with much of that overcharge for positions that were never filled. As a result prisons are understaffed increasing safety issues for inmates and officers alike. Riley added:
If we privatize these prisons its already projected that they’ll cut positions to save money. It’s already been proposed that training be reduced from 400 hours to four weeks.
Riley said it’s a fact that correction officers are killed in the line of duty. In the last few years he had to attend three funerals. He had one request of the Senators if they pass a privatization bill that further reduces safety at prisons. Riley noted:
If you choose to privatize these facilities, I ask you, the next officer death, please stand next to me at the funeral.
A recent congressional Government Accounting office (GAO ) report stated that the few robust studies that it had reviewed did not permit drawing generalities.
For these reasons, among others, the few studies that we reviewed
do not permit drawing generalizable conclusions about the comparative
operational costs and/or quality of service of private and public prisons.
Privatization is Ponzi scheme that produces diminished returns over time.