HEADLINES : Florida
Scott plan to privatize prisons draws suit by police union
The union that represents state correctional officers is suing Gov. Rick Scott's administration, seeking to derail a massive privatization of state prison operations in 18 South Florida counties.
The suit, filed by the Florida Police Benevolent Association against Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss, hopes to block a plan to privatize 30 prisons in Miami-Dade, Broward and 16 other counties.
Those prisons currently house about 20 percent of the state's 102,000-inmate population.
Buss said Tuesday he had not reviewed the lawsuit.
"I'm not sure what the legal argument is, given that this was a legislative mandate," Buss said. "To us, it's like a bell that's already been rung. We're working under a very aggressive timeline and we need to get started on it right away."
The privatization plan was included as part of the 2011-12 state budget as a way to shave costs.
As part of the budget agreement, the Legislature required the state to have vendors in place to run the prisons by Jan. 1, 2012.
The union maintains that privatization will result in the loss of jobs by its members. The lawsuit claims the language in the budget mandating the outsourcing is unconstitutionally broad.
Filed Under : Corrections & Criminal Justice