by Kyle Weidleman | April 26, 2012
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and his allies in the state Legislature backed down from plans to sell an Avoyelles Parish prison last week responding to the public outcry against selling the state property. AFSCME members have been leading the charge, building coalitions with community groups and religious congregations to fight for these public service workers and ensure public safety.
The Louisiana House of Representatives voted 62 to 43 to amend House Bill 850 to take the sale of the corrections facility off the table. The revamped bill would still allow for the state corrections department to shop out the prison's services for a 10-year contract with a privateer—pending approval from the Statehouse and senate budget committees. A privatized facility could see corrections officers' annual salaries drop by $24,000—if the officers are even rehired by the corporation.
AFSCME members in Louisiana have been speaking with local religious leaders and in front of community groups to stress the importance of protecting public safety. By making calls and visits to their local lawmakers, AFSCME members and allies were a big part of the public outcry that helped to kill the prison sale. With corrections officers' job security and the public safety of the people of Louisiana at stake, AFSCME members and community allies will continue to fight prison privatization in Louisiana.