Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida appeals judge's decision to block prison privatization plan

TALLAHASSEE — At the request of the Legislature, the state will challenge a judge's order blocking privatization of 30 prisons in South Florida.

Shortly before the courts closed for the day Monday, Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a notice of appeal with the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee.

Bondi's spokeswoman said she did so at the request of the Republican-led Legislature, which was not a party to the original lawsuit but whose actions were sharply criticized in the original ruling.

The decision extends the state's effort to implement the most ambitious outsourcing of government-run prisons to date in the United States.

The Legislature created the privatization plan in 18 counties, from Manatee to Monroe, and did so not by passing a bill but by attaching the provision to the entire prison budget in what's known as proviso language.

A union representing correctional officers, the Florida Police Benevolent Association, filed suit to block the project, and won. The union said thousands of officers' jobs were threatened.

Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford ruled Sept. 30 that the venture was in violation of state law and the Florida Constitution because it was not "rationally related" to the prison system's overall budget. A spending item that changes substantive law is invalid, the judge ruled.

Lawmakers had hoped to save $22 million this year by hiring a private vendor to run the prisons for 7 percent less than it costs the state to run them.

The PBA said Monday it would continue to emphasize what it called "the lack of significant savings" associated with prison privatization.

"We're ready to fight it at the next level," said Matt Puckett, executive director of the PBA. "We're very confident that it's not going to be overturned. I think there are a lot of tax dollars at stake here."

Bondi's action came as a bit of a surprise because the prison system and Gov. Rick Scott's office said earlier in the day that the ruling would not be appealed.

Times/Herald staff writer Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report.

Florida appeals judge's decision to block prison privatization plan 10/31/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 31, 2011 9:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Helicopter, small aircraft collide at Clearwater Air Park

    News

    CLEARWATER — Two people suffered minor injuries after a helicopter and a small aircraft collided late Saturday afternoon at Clearwater Air Park, 1000 N Hercules Ave.

    Clearwater Fire Department emergency personal douse a plane with fire retardant after the plane crashed into a helicopter at Clearwater Air Park 1000 N Hercules Ave. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. According to Clearwater Fire two people sustained minor injuries. [Photo by Clearwater Fire Department]
  2. 4-year-old girl, man injured in Clearwater Beach boating crash

    Briefs

    A 4-year-old girl was airlifted with serious injuries after a personal watercraft she was riding on collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

  3. Hernando Sheriff's Office identifies bank robber killed after chase, places 7 deputies on administrative leave

    Crime

    Authorities have identified a bank robbery suspect fatally shot by Hernando County sheriff's deputies after a wild chase Friday in which the fleeing suspect rammed several patrol cars in Brooksville.

    Scott Michael Chamberlain, 44, died after a deputy-involved shooting Friday. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said that Chamberlaine attempted to rob a bank before taking deputies on a pursuit. (Florida Department of Corrections)
  4. No. 12 FSU, defense struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — It's easy to blame No. 12 Florida State's 27-21 loss to North Carolina State on the injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois or the three-week layoff because of Hurricane Irma.

    It would also be wrong.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  5. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off

    Nba

    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]