Oral Arguments Set in Prison Privatization Appeal
Oral arguments in the state’s appeal of Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford’s ruling that the Legislature violated the state Constitution by placing prison privatization in the 2011-2012 state budget have been set for June 13.
The state contends Fulford was wrong to rule that the Legislature in 2011 exceeded its authority by including a proviso in the state budget that required the Department of Corrections to accept bids from companies seeking to privatize state prisons. The proviso would have allowed 29 Central and South Florida prisons to be changed from public to private if the contracts saved at least 7 percent from current prison costs.
Fulford didn’t object to the state privatizing prisons, just how the legislation was enacted.
“The PBA is prepared to present our case to the appeals court,” Jimmy Baiardi, president of Florida PBA State Correctional Officers Chapter, stated in a release. “We think Judge Fulford made the correct decision and that the appeals court will uphold her ruling. The PBA is confident in our case and we look forward to having the matter put to rest once and for all.”
In February, 10 Senate Republicans broke ranks to help Democrats defeat a stand-alone bill to advance the plan to privatize the correctional facilities.