Tallahassee, Florida - April 26, 2011 -
Eyewitness News will have more on this story later this evening.
Florida Department of Corrections Officers (FDOC) and members of the Teamsters Union today delivered thousands of postcards to state Sen. Mike Haridopolos urging him not to support bills that call for privatizing the state’s prisons.
“These correctional officers and I are here today representing themselves as both public servants and voters,” said retired FDOC Col. William Muse. “Many of these officers drove hours and even worked double shifts to be here today because of the responsibility to our families, their coworkers and our communities to fight the effort to privatize the state's prisons.”
“Corrections officers see firsthand what the state's most violent criminals are capable of and have pride in the job that we do to protect the public despite risks to ourselves,” Col. Muse said. “Protecting our public safety should not be left to private companies that put profits over people. We are urging Senate President Haridopolos and our legislators to be real leaders and stand up to the effort to privatize the state's prisons.”
“Privatizing prisons is bad public policy,” said Teamsters International Vice President Ken Wood, who is also President of Teamsters Local 79 in Tampa and President of Teamsters Joint Council 75. “It will put more communities at risk and not result in savings to taxpayers. The Florida Legislature needs to be focused on the needs of its citizens, not corporate interests.”
The Senate’s proposed $69.8 billion spending plan calls for privatizing many of the state’s prisons. Under Gov. Rick Scott’s two-year budget proposal, 1,690 FDOC jobs will be lost and more than $82.4 million will be cut from the FDOC budget.
The Florida Department of Corrections is the third largest prison system in the nation. The legislature could vote on the bills at any time in the next two weeks.
FDOC Officers also met today with other state legislators urging them not to support measures that would privatize prisons. FDOC Officers are currently working to form a union with the Teamsters.