Monday, January 16, 2012

Incarceration, Incorporated

Florida state Republicans are eying a bill that would privatize prisons in 18 counties, which makes sense since the second biggest private prison outfit in the country spent nearly a million bucks in 2010 donating to the campaigns of Gov. Rick Scott and his fellow GOP lawmakers.  Gotta love payback, especially when the people making the laws are the ones playing the game.

“We’ve been saying all along that these proposed prison closures are about turning Florida’s prisons over to for-profit corporations,” Ken Wood, Acting President of Teamsters Local 2011, said. “This is payback to the powerful prison corporations that spend millions on lobbyists and political donations.”

“Both the privatization bill and these closures are being rushed through without any public input and zero transparency. We have no evidence that privatizing prisons would save money and plenty of evidence that it won’t. Closing and privatizing prisons would devastate the dedicated correctional officers, their families and nearby small businesses.

For-profit prisons are associated with heightened levels of violence toward prisoners and have limited incentives to reduce future crime, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The perverse incentives to maximize profits and cut corners — even at the expense of safety and decent conditions — may contribute to an unacceptable level of danger in private prisons,” the report stated.

And private prisons are a growing industry in the US.  The best part?  Prisons still run by the state, with unionized state employees, are the ones being slated for closure by Scott and friends.

The head of the union representing Florida's corrections officers is calling on state lawmakers to hold community hearings on Gov. Rick Scott's plan to close seven prisons and four work camps.

Ken Wood says the planned closures will put prison workers out of jobs and also hurt local vendors who do business with the prison in their county. Wood is acting president of Teamsters Local 2011.

Corrections Secretary Kenneth S. Tucker says he would try to transfer as many workers as possible to other facilities. He also will ask other state agencies and county sheriffs to hire the displaced. About 1,300 jobs are affected by the closings.

The closings could save the state at least $75 million. Wood complained that none of Florida's private prisons were slated for closure

Gosh, I wonder why that is?  You mean Scott's bagging all the union boys in the state and leaving the private prisons untouched...and making more private prisons, costing thousands more union jobs in the state?

Who's the thug here?

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