October 01, 2011
A Florida circuit court judge on Friday ruled that state’s Department of Corrections cannot move forward with a scheme hatched by the governor to turn over 29 of its facilities to private contractors.
Judge Jackie Fulford’s ruling was a strong rebuke to Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s ill-conceived plan to outsource as many as 3,800 prison jobs — including those of AFSCME members – by circumventing state law.
“This ruling sends a clear message to the legislature that, try as it might, it cannot run roughshod over the state’s constitution,” said Jeanette Wynn, president of AFSCME Council 79 in Florida. “From the beginning, this attempt to outsource correctional facilities has been a sneak attack on behalf of greedy privateers. Today they learned that they have to play by the rules.”
Scott was hardly the first governor to try privatizing prisons only to lose in the face of AFSCME activism. Following intense pressure from activists in Ohio this summer, the team evaluating bids for Republican Gov. John Kasich’s attempted sale of five state prisons determined that only one could be privatized.