Florida on Track for Largest Expansion of Private Prisons in America

One of the big stories we found during our trip to Florida last week is that crime indeed does pay — especially for some political individuals and prison operators.

Lawmakers there are fast tracking a bill to privatize 26 Florida prisons to become “for profit,” which means that they’ll benefit financially from stricter drug laws.

Growing Florida’s private prison population would be a windfall for these companies.  10% of the state’s inmates already housed in similar private facilities, and the new legislation would add another 16,000 inmates to the private prison roles, making it the largest expansion of private prisons in America.

To add insult to injury, Florida doesn’t actually need new prisons.  They actually have the opposite problem (if you want to call it a problem) prison undercrowding. As crime rates have been steadily declining in Florida, there are not even enough prisoners  to fill up the available beds in that state. 10,000 beds have sat empty during the past three years as the number of arrests statewide has plummeted 11%.

Instead of consolidating prisons and prisoners to save cash, Florida is looking to expand private-sector control of prisons.  So who is setting themselves up to gain from this?  As the story is dripping with “Greedy Bastardism,” and we take a look at the issue with State Sen. Mike Fasano of Florida.