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State will seek private prison plans, but ...

The Department of Corrections said Thursday it will solicit proposals from private companies seeking to operate 30 prisons and work camps in an 18-county region of South Florida. But the state won't award a contract until an ongoing lawsuit is resolved.

A brief statement from the prison system, distributed to media outlets at 5 p.m., said the agency would "reopen the procurement process" because Attorney General Pam Bondi appealed a circuit court decision declaring the privatization plan unconstitutional. The statement said the appeal "had the effect of staying the circuit court's order in accordance with Rule 9.310(b)(2), Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure." An agency spokeswoman said the prison system's general counsel, Jennifer Parker, approved the action.

Proposals are due at the prison system by 2 p.m. next Thursday, Nov. 10. The proposal is believed to be the largest prison outsourcing venture ever undertaken at one time in the U.S. Florida taxpayers now pay about $310-million to operate those prisons, including the state's only high-security prison for women, Broward Correctional Institution in Pembroke Pines.

Three firms could submit proposals to run the prisons: Geo Group of Boca Raton, Corrections Corp. of America of Nashville and MTC Corp. of Utah. The proviso language that's at the heart of the lawsuit requires a vendor to run the prisons for at least 7 percent less than the state paid to operate them. Hundreds of correctional officers and other prison workers have resigned their jobs in recent months, anticipating their prisons would be taken over by private firms. The bidding process was immediately suspended in August when Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford issued an order declaring the venture illegal.    

-- Steve Bousquet

Comments

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Donna Red Wing

Privatization erodes public control and oversight. Nowhere is privatization more insidious than in the corporate takeover of our criminal justice system. For-profit corporations own and run hundreds of prisons, jails, and detention centers in this country.

For these companies, every prisoner is a profit center, every crime a business opportunity, and rehabilitation is bad for business.

For-profit incarceration has no place in a democracy.

Bryson

The legislature and Governor have clearly conveyed the message that they don't care what people think and what is right - even the courts. They are all about helping out their buddies and big corporations. Boot out all the republicans in leadership roles, they are bad news.

Betrayed

Disgusting, what kind of leadership is this, the Department of Corrections is going forward with getting rid of their own staff, people they trust to protect the public. What kind of employer throws their own staff to the streets. Great job Governor. Talk about a morale killer.

Enhanced Reasons

Florida trying to privatize prisons, which means Florida Trafficking by Scott and Rubio to continue. They continue to be against illegal immigration, so they can keep the prison population full in order to satisfy the terms of a privatized prison contract. Of course both are getting lots of money from the private prison lobbyists to select their particular prison operator for the new contract. This is Florida political corruption at its finest with Florida's two worst and most unpopular republican Tea bagger backed politician’s ramming this home for personal gain.

VTX

Floridians had a choice. Rick Scott or Alex Synk (sp). This State is dumbing down much faster then Mississippi. Remember the vote to changed the Majority from 51% to 60% when one trys to put an Amendment on a Ballot. One would think this was a no Brainer. Guess again, it now takes 60%. Private Prisons are for PROFIT and must have guests to stay opened. Prisons are for Rehabilation not profit! Wouldn't it be nice to eliminate Prisons. I know, I know that will never happen but maybe we can reduce the number. Please let's understand one thing, under a Private for profit Corporation, even a reduction will be non-existant. One more thing, do you really believe the Contracts will stay less then 7%. Dumbing down People, dumbing down.

lois simon

I know how some feel, not liking governor either, or republicans, but first had experience. My grandson is in private prison Blackwater River CF he, other inmates are treated very good, much better than doc he was in before. Clean, if they respect guards it is in return, have movies on sat., better food, classes, excellent medical care, everyone just got free flu shots, most minium security have jobs. Wished they would reduce mandatory 85% would help alot for non violent crimes. So just know GEO Blackwater River Cf is very good if they have to be there so I hope GEO gets the contract, just my opinion

Gail Tyree

Lois you do have a right to your opinion. Check in with your Grandson in a few months when Geo in no longer under investigation at the Blackwater River CF and see how well he is being treated. They are not treating him well because they like him. They are doing it for now because they are being investigated and they want to win the contract to run 29 other public prison in South Florida. Do your home work Lois. Research some of the other 60 prison Geo operate. I have a few parents and grandparents that can tell you some stories that will keep you up all night, PRAYING.

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