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Poor Privatization of Prisons

By: Donna Davis
By: Donna Davis

Your tax dollars were going to pay employees who were no longer working at the state’s five privately run prisons, and that’s just one example of overspending revealed by a recent audit.

Harvey Bennett of Florida TaxWatch says, “This is a slap in the face of the hard working tax paying citizens of Florida.”

Harvey Bennett is appalled at a state audit showing private companies operating Florida prisons overspent almost $13 million.

Harvey adds, “Thirteen million dollars is a lot of money. The first thing the state needs to do is to aggressively get that money back.”

Gov. Jeb Bush has never been fond of private prisons. He says it was a cop out by the state Legislature.

“It’s easier. They are basically deferring costs by paying debt service over time,“ Bush says.

The Legislature mandates that private companies save the state seven percent on construction and operational costs of prisons, yet this audit shows it’s impossible to tell if private companies saved the state anything at all.

Harvey says, “What we’ve seen in this latest example is an effort to drive costs up and drive services down.”

Bennett says taxpayers deserve more competition, but also much more government oversight.

Right now the state spends $106 million a year on private companies that operate prisons. Those two companies are Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group.


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