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. Water Hogs: During drought, hundreds of Tampa Bay homes guzzled a gallon of water a minute

    Drought

    When Amalie Oil president Harry Barkett plunked down $6.75-million for his Bayshore Boulevard mansion, he picked up 12.5 bathrooms, a pool, a hot tub, an elevator and a deck bigger than some one-bedroom apartments.

    During one of the worst droughts in the Tampa Bay region's history, hundreds of houses used more than a gallon of water a minute. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times

  2. PolitiFact Florida checks out Rick Baker's talking point about the growth of St. Petersburg's A-rated schools

    Elections

    Rick Baker has used mailers, forums and social media to relay one big message in his campaign for St. Petersburg mayor: Schools in St. Petersburg saw drastic improvements when he was mayor from 2001 to 2010.

    Rick Baker, candidate for St. Petersburg mayor
  3. Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelly talks family, songwriting and more before Tampa show

    Music & Concerts

    A while back at the Grammys, Charles Kelley found himself in the same room as Paul McCartney. The Lady Antebellum singer, a seven-time Grammy winner in his own right, couldn't work up the courage to say hello.

    Lady Antebellum perform at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday. Credit: Eric Ray Davidson
  4. Clearwater suspect due in court after 9 die in sweltering San Antonio truck

    Nation

    SAN ANTONIO — Nine people are dead and the death toll could rise after emergency crews pulled dozens of people from a sweltering tractor-trailer found parked outside a Walmart in the midsummer Texas heat, victims of what officials said was an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone wrong.

    San Antonio police officers investigate the scene where eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case, Sunday, July 23, 2017, in San Antonio. [Associated Press]
  5. Email warning ignored before St. Pete started spewing sewage

    Water

    ST. PETERSBURG — A draft report lays blame for the city's sewage crisis squarely on the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman and a cascading series of errors that started with the now infamous shuttering of the Albert Whitted Water Reclamation Facility in 2015.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September 2016 to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system. St. Petersburg dumped up to 200 million gallons of sewage over 13 months from 2015-16. A new state report blames much of the crisis on mistakes made by the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman, but also critcizes past administrations. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]