Anyone wanting to get a basic understanding of the movement and its background to privatize prisons in Florida really needs to read this book. It is a well written chronicle of how the privatization process and the corruption associated with it. No question, he nails everything down and dots his i’s and crosses all his t’s.
However, having said that, he was a lobbyist for a law enforcement union that included correction officers. Also, when he makes a call to a person representing the crimenal justice community, he gets their attention and in many places where he may have been stonewalled for who knows what reason he had the leverage to get their cooperation. An unwritten agenda of this book is to demonstrate the power of law enforcement community in shaping the politics of the state.
Additionally, there is a natural bias that can not be over looked in this book. The period he writes about also has a massive amount of corruption within the ranks of the very community he represented that makes the prison privatization movement look like chump change. The was the murder of Franke Valdes, Steroid probe ensnarls prisons, the murder of Martin Anderson (a teen ager in a sherriffs book camp), The conviction of James V. Crosby (former Secretary for the Department of Corrections) in federal court for corruption, Janes McDonough takes over as Secretary for DOC (800 plus 800 plus law enforcement comments.)
As bad as the scandals may have been is the point that the Florida Law enforcement community had precious little part in the clean-up. It was either the feds that led the investigations, took people to trail and sentenced them. In cases where the state failed to get convictions or it was the efforts of James DcDonough who act administratively to fire tainted individuals and instituted longer lasting administrative reforms. It could be argued there was more than ample evidence to bring in the feds for violation of civil rights as was the case of the 3 boys killed in Mississippi during the civil rights movement. However, I will argue this never happened because there was one Bush sitting as the governor of Florida and the other sitting as the president of the US.
The book remains a good read to get an understanding of Florida politics.