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Switch to Forum Live View Privatizing Prisons & Mandatory Sentences
2 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2012 - 2:53PM #1
Stardove
Posts: 15,950
When and where will privatizing governmental duties end? Whether these are on a national, state or local level prisons in America are big business. 

Privatizing prisons in the USA reminds me how many duties that the soldiers used to do in the service are now done by private companies which have gotten rich off wars and their contracts.

But if you think about it even for a minute, you realize that the one thing the companies that make up the prison-industrial complex — companies like Community Education or the private-prison giant Corrections Corporation of America — are definitely not doing is competing in a free market. They are, instead, living off government contracts. There isn't any market here, and there is, therefore, no reason to expect any magical gains in efficiency. More at this link.

And then we have Florida in the current news:

In Florida, Minimum Mandatory Sentencing Laws Fuel Push for Private Prisons

On Valentine's Day this year, Florida almost made the unprecedented move to privatize 29 of its prisons, but the legislation was narrowly defeated.

..........................................

The efforts to privatize more prisons in Florida had lost in this round, but the Geo Group and CCA have spent a combined $580,000 in lobby fees to try to get this bill through and have given lawmakers around $1 million to lawmakers' campaign funds. There is no doubt that these companies and others will go another round to try to privatize more and more of Florida's prisons. Florida currently already has seven private prisons.

Why the big push to privatize prisons in Florida? There are efforts to privatize prisons all over the United States,  but Florida is a ripe target. Florida has a Republican governor and legislature that wants more and more privatization of government and it has the third-largest prison population in the nation. It also has had an explosive growth of prisons over the years - it had around 20,000 prisoners in 1980 and now it has 101,000 prisoners. This growth has led to chronic overcrowding and Florida has been under federal court order to reduce the crowding.

One of the biggest pressures to privatize Florida prisons is because of its rigid mandatory sentencing laws; it will have an almost guaranteed expanding prison population. According to a Pew Center Study as reported by The Associated Press, Florida already leads the nation for the longest prison terms and has a "whopping 166 percent increase in the estimated average time that released prisoners spent behind bars over a 19-year span." The Pew report also found that in 2009, Florida spent an extra $1.4 billion on prisons because of the longer prison terms. The study concludes that Florida's mandatory sentencing laws, especially their "10-20-Life" law, were a major factor for the longest prison terms.

This law, passed in 1999, inflicts increasingly severe mandatory sentences for crimes involving guns. As the State of Florida explains it:

Mandates a minimum 10 year prison term for certain felonies, or attempted felonies in which the offender possesses a firearm or destructive device

Mandates a minimum 20 year prison term when the firearm is discharged

Mandates a minimum 25 years to LIFE if someone is injured or killed

Mandates a minimum 3 year prison term for possession of a firearm by a felon

Mandates that the minimum prison term is to be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed

As it has been found with other severe mandatory minimum sentences in other states such as California, this law quickly filled up the Florida state prisons. While gun violence is not to be downplayed, this law tied the hands of judges who were not allowed to match the sentences to the severity of the crimes.

More information at the link.

Florida Provides Lesson in How Not to Privatize State Prisons


When Florida lawmakers used a backdoor approach to try to privatize almost 30 state detention facilities in 2011, they likely did not anticipate the outcome. By the time the political dust had settled, the union representing prison employees had successfully sued to stop the privatization plan, the state’s top two corrections officials had resigned, and an ethics complaint had been filed against the governor for accepting campaign donations from companies that stood to benefit from privatizing state prisons.

....................

Backdoor Budget Proviso

In 2011, the Florida legislature proceeded to slash spending across all state agencies. When it came to the FDOC’s budget the PBA played its usual card, arguing that closing prisons and laying off guards would constitute a threat to public safety. But citing the need to cut the state’s corrections expenditures, the Senate Budget Committee slipped a last-minute proviso into the state budget, Senate Bill No. 2000.

The proviso required the FDOC to privatize 29 prisons, work camps, work release centers and annexes housing 16,000 prisoners in 18 South Florida counties known as FDOC Region IV – an unprecedented private prison expansion that would result in the termination of around 3,800 state employees. The privatization plan was to go into effect by January 1, 2012.

The PBA challenged the law shortly after it became effective on July 1, 2011 by filing suit in state court. Leon County Circuit Court Judge Jackie L. Fulford heard the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment on September 29. The next day she entered an order that put the brakes on the prison privatization plan.

“Actions taken to date are declared illegal without authority in violation of law,” Judge Fulford wrote in an order that prevented the privatization effort from moving forward.

More at the link.
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2012 - 6:14PM #2
TemplarS
Posts: 6,960

It's really simple.


1. State pays money to private company to run prisons.


2. Private company devotes part of profits to lobbying efforts for more and longer prison sentences.


3. Money talks, legislature obliges.


4. State now needs more and bigger prisons. 


5. Private company makes more money.


6. Return to step 2.



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2 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2012 - 7:11PM #3
Iwantamotto
Posts: 8,478

My solution:


1.  Put the druggies in rehab.


2.  Form partnerships with local businesses to train and employ the minor offenses folk (petty thieves, speeders, etc).


3.  "Remove" hardened bad guys "permanently" from society.

Knock and the door shall open.  It's not my fault if you don't like the decor.
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2012 - 8:36PM #4
jane2
Posts: 14,295

Jun 29, 2012 -- 6:14PM, TemplarS wrote:


It's really simple.


1. State pays money to private company to run prisons.


2. Private company devotes part of profits to lobbying efforts for more and longer prison sentences.


3. Money talks, legislature obliges.


4. State now needs more and bigger prisons. 


5. Private company makes more money.


6. Return to step 2.






Agree with your analyses, Templar.




 

discuss catholicism
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2012 - 8:57AM #5
Ebon
Posts: 10,148

Templar is right on this one. It's a cycle of money that goes around and around.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. ~ Proverbs 14:31

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2012 - 9:02AM #6
Ebon
Posts: 10,148

Jun 29, 2012 -- 7:11PM, Iwantamotto wrote:

My solution:


1.  Put the druggies in rehab.



Agreed.


2.  Form partnerships with local businesses to train and employ the minor offenses folk (petty thieves, speeders, etc).



Also agreed.


3.  "Remove" hardened bad guys "permanently" from society.



How? I can't support executing anyone (I support the DP in principle but not in practice) and  hitting them with LWOP means that they have nothing to lose and become much harder for prisons to control. In addition to that, the ridiculous three-strikes laws means you occasionally end up with some poor schmuk sentenced to life for stealing a slice of pizza. Unless/until we perfect suspended animation technology (meaning you can just freeze and warehouse convicts), you're still stuck having to house, clothe and feed them.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. ~ Proverbs 14:31

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2012 - 12:50PM #7
BDboy
Posts: 6,284

Jun 29, 2012 -- 6:14PM, TemplarS wrote:


It's really simple.


1. State pays money to private company to run prisons.


2. Private company devotes part of profits to lobbying efforts for more and longer prison sentences.


3. Money talks, legislature obliges.


4. State now needs more and bigger prisons. 


5. Private company makes more money.


6. Return to step 2.






>>>>>>>> It seems in American democracy "Lobby groups" have more power than people. This is an good example of that fact.

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2012 - 1:52PM #8
Ebon
Posts: 10,148

Jun 30, 2012 -- 12:50PM, BDboy wrote:

>>>>>>>> It seems in American democracy "Lobby groups" have more power than people. This is an good example of that fact. 



This is pretty much true as far as I can tell. And it's made worse by the Citizens United decision that said corporations can spend as much as they like on electioneering. The US no longer has elections, it has auctions.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. ~ Proverbs 14:31

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2012 - 5:46PM #9
arielg
Posts: 9,116

Letting private companies run prisons is no different than other services the government gives out to private companies. They do it  to save money,  because  private companies are more efficient. The government cannot be an expert in everything.  They have plenty of ways to make sure the companies  comply with the rules. Just like they do with electricity, gas, etc.

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2012 - 6:08PM #10
Roodog
Posts: 10,168

Jun 29, 2012 -- 2:53PM, Stardove wrote:

When and where will privatizing governmental duties end? Whether these are on a national, state or local level prisons in America are big business. 

Privatizing prisons in the USA reminds me how many duties that the soldiers used to do in the service are now done by private companies which have gotten rich off wars and their contracts.

But if you think about it even for a minute, you realize that the one thing the companies that make up the prison-industrial complex — companies like Community Education or the private-prison giant Corrections Corporation of America — are definitely not doing is competing in a free market. They are, instead, living off government contracts. There isn't any market here, and there is, therefore, no reason to expect any magical gains in efficiency. More at this link.

And then we have Florida in the current news:

In Florida, Minimum Mandatory Sentencing Laws Fuel Push for Private Prisons

On Valentine's Day this year, Florida almost made the unprecedented move to privatize 29 of its prisons, but the legislation was narrowly defeated.

..........................................

The efforts to privatize more prisons in Florida had lost in this round, but the Geo Group and CCA have spent a combined $580,000 in lobby fees to try to get this bill through and have given lawmakers around $1 million to lawmakers' campaign funds. There is no doubt that these companies and others will go another round to try to privatize more and more of Florida's prisons. Florida currently already has seven private prisons.

Why the big push to privatize prisons in Florida? There are efforts to privatize prisons all over the United States,  but Florida is a ripe target. Florida has a Republican governor and legislature that wants more and more privatization of government and it has the third-largest prison population in the nation. It also has had an explosive growth of prisons over the years - it had around 20,000 prisoners in 1980 and now it has 101,000 prisoners. This growth has led to chronic overcrowding and Florida has been under federal court order to reduce the crowding.

One of the biggest pressures to privatize Florida prisons is because of its rigid mandatory sentencing laws; it will have an almost guaranteed expanding prison population. According to a Pew Center Study as reported by The Associated Press, Florida already leads the nation for the longest prison terms and has a "whopping 166 percent increase in the estimated average time that released prisoners spent behind bars over a 19-year span." The Pew report also found that in 2009, Florida spent an extra $1.4 billion on prisons because of the longer prison terms. The study concludes that Florida's mandatory sentencing laws, especially their "10-20-Life" law, were a major factor for the longest prison terms.

This law, passed in 1999, inflicts increasingly severe mandatory sentences for crimes involving guns. As the State of Florida explains it:

Mandates a minimum 10 year prison term for certain felonies, or attempted felonies in which the offender possesses a firearm or destructive device

Mandates a minimum 20 year prison term when the firearm is discharged

Mandates a minimum 25 years to LIFE if someone is injured or killed

Mandates a minimum 3 year prison term for possession of a firearm by a felon

Mandates that the minimum prison term is to be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed

As it has been found with other severe mandatory minimum sentences in other states such as California, this law quickly filled up the Florida state prisons. While gun violence is not to be downplayed, this law tied the hands of judges who were not allowed to match the sentences to the severity of the crimes.

More information at the link.

Florida Provides Lesson in How Not to Privatize State Prisons


When Florida lawmakers used a backdoor approach to try to privatize almost 30 state detention facilities in 2011, they likely did not anticipate the outcome. By the time the political dust had settled, the union representing prison employees had successfully sued to stop the privatization plan, the state’s top two corrections officials had resigned, and an ethics complaint had been filed against the governor for accepting campaign donations from companies that stood to benefit from privatizing state prisons.

....................

Backdoor Budget Proviso

In 2011, the Florida legislature proceeded to slash spending across all state agencies. When it came to the FDOC’s budget the PBA played its usual card, arguing that closing prisons and laying off guards would constitute a threat to public safety. But citing the need to cut the state’s corrections expenditures, the Senate Budget Committee slipped a last-minute proviso into the state budget, Senate Bill No. 2000.

The proviso required the FDOC to privatize 29 prisons, work camps, work release centers and annexes housing 16,000 prisoners in 18 South Florida counties known as FDOC Region IV – an unprecedented private prison expansion that would result in the termination of around 3,800 state employees. The privatization plan was to go into effect by January 1, 2012.

The PBA challenged the law shortly after it became effective on July 1, 2011 by filing suit in state court. Leon County Circuit Court Judge Jackie L. Fulford heard the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment on September 29. The next day she entered an order that put the brakes on the prison privatization plan.

“Actions taken to date are declared illegal without authority in violation of law,” Judge Fulford wrote in an order that prevented the privatization effort from moving forward.

More at the link.




Stardove:


This is indeed a frightening trend. Along wth the privitaization of our military and police the privatization of prisons is absolutely terrifying. Private corporations are not under the same Constitutional restraints as their Governmental counterparts and there is less accountability. This why we are starting to warrentless searches, not by the police but by companies like  Wackenhut. The shooting of civilians by Military contractors like what Blackwater calls itself now. People who commit a state crime in one state now can be incarcerated in another state. This does not seem right.


The privitization of prisons reminds me of the nefarious arrangement between IG Farben and the Nazi Concentration  Camps. We will see a return to slavery in this country by the means of this  growing kind of prison labor.

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