Florida PBA Sues to Block Prison Privatization

TAMPA (2011-7-19) -

The General Counsel for the Florida Police Benevolent Association said his organization is challenging the constitutionality of the state's prison privatization plan. Hal Johnson said he doesn't think privatization in this way is safe for the public and he calls it overreaching.

"I mean this would be unprecedented in the United States, or I wouldn't say in the world, but we are unaware of any instance where you just take an entire third of the state and just turn it over to the private prison and say, here, you handle it, we're not going to handle it any more," Johnson said.

The FPBA is suing in Tallahassee Circuit Court to block the privatization plan for 18 counties in the state, including Miami-Dade.

The privatization measure emerged from the Florida Legislature as a cost-saving plan. But an earlier report from the Miami Herald said state financial analysts have said they cannot prove just how much money would be saved by using private, rather than state-run prisons.

Prison staffers are already working on a request for proposals from private prison operators.

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