Union again beats state in private prison legal fight

Everglades Correctional Institution.The most recent chapter in the privatization struggle between the PBA and state legislature played out in court yesterday and is best summed up with “Early Saturday, Leon County Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford stopped the project a second time, handing another political victory to the Florida Police Benevolent Association and another legal setback to the Legislature and Department of Corrections. (Read the judge’s order at the end of this post).” Union again beats state in private prison legal fight

Martin Correctional InstitutionThis has got to be an assume power struggle when a labor union has the political, financial and legal clout to go against the state legislature over jobs. We are talking of strictly a jobs issue and for a fact nothing about prison conditions, public safety, redemption, or making Florida a better place to live.

This point is reinforced again in the article “At a 45-minute hearing Friday afternoon, PBA lawyer Stephen Turner described the prison system’s latest move as “sneaky” and said the union’s legal challenge is similar to a bid protest, and that “you should not do anything when there’s a challenge.” The lawyer for the state, Assistant Attorney General Jon Glogau, replied: “The agency isn’t trying to be sneaky. All they’re trying to do is move the ball forward.” The casually-attired Glogau (in photo above) was with his family at a Greek food festival when he was summoned to the courthouse for the emergency 4:30 p.m. hearing.

Open DormThe PBA took testimony by phone from one of its top union officials, Capt. James Baiardi (left), who said “the panic has begun again” among some 4,000 guards and their families now that the state is again seeking proposals to privatize. Baiardi, the lead plaintiff in the case, works at the South Florida Reception Center in Miami.”

From the Gainesville Sun: Scott, GOP to Push Agenda Despite Series of Unfavorable Court Rulings

There are some very close parallels between Florida and California in the overall situation. Among the power players in mandatory minimum sentacing and zero tolerance and 85 percent of time served was the criminal justice system. They grew the system to the point where the state could not afford it and it did not result in a lowering of crime below the national average.

The forces on both size of this issue are locked in a life or death struggle and the financial stakes are enormous on both sides. The best sumation of the cash involved comes from an Orlando Sentinal update:

TALLAHASSEE — A Leon County Circuit judge struck down Florida’s plans to privatize 29 prisons in South Florida, one of the biggest government privatization efforts in the country.

It was a stunning setback for Boca Raton-based Geo Corp., which seemed to many the best-poised bidder to win at least a chunk if not all of the $1.4 billion contract to run a large number of the state’s correctional facilities.

Lawmakers had said the privatization plan could save them about $22 million, but the Police Benevolent Association filed suit, saying the state had forced the program through in an unconstitutional manner.

Judge Jackie Fulford wrote in a six-page order that the Legislature had violated the Constitution by including the prison plan in what’s called budget proviso language instead of fully vetting it in a separate bill.

Read the full ruling here.
UPDATE: Tallahassee judge knocks down Legislature’s So Fla prison privatization plan

In hard economic times there is a definite economic advantage to replacing state workers with benifit packages with contract workers at lower wages and no benifits. However, this can be a shot in the foot in that when good times return the infrastructure is gone as well as the good workers because they will go elsewhere.
A Hidden Toll as States Shift to Contract Workers

This entry was posted in Corruption, Politics, Prison and Jails, Rural Poverty Program, The Journey, The Problem. Bookmark the permalink.

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