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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Grand jury digging into Panhandle private prison deal



As legislative leaders continue the push to privatize 19 South Florida prisons, the state's most ambitious private prison project in Northwest Florida is enmeshed in a grand jury investigation.

The federal inquiry into the Blackwater River Correctional Facility has a broad sweep, touching former House Speaker Ray Sansom, R-Destin, the economic development arm of Santa Rosa County, and incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

Since March, the Pensacola-based grand jury has issued more than six subpoenas seeking documents and testimony into the $121 million state contract that cleared the way for the Boca Raton-based Geo Group to build a prison near the Panhandle city of Milton.

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[Last modified: Sunday, October 9, 2011 10:13pm]


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