Will Privatizing Prisons Save Florida Money? Arizona Study Says Maybe Not

Categories: Crime, Politics
GEOlogo.jpg
The GEO Group was a huge donor to political campaigns.
Last month, the Florida Legislature passed a landmark plan to privatize nearly all of the prisons in the southern part of the state, including those in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The bill was a thinly veiled stimulus package for the private prison industry, which last year gave nearly $1 million to political campaigns in Florida, according to the nonpartisan National Institute on Money in Politics. The largest chunk of cash by far -- $822,000 -- came from the GEO Group, based in Boca Raton.

Proponents claim the prison outsource plan will save the state nearly $60 million over two years. This is a good sound bite to please fiscally conservative constituents. But a recent
study of prisons in Arizona, conducted by the state auditor, found that private lockups are not necessarily the cheaper option.

According to the New York Times, in Arizona, "The state's own data indicate that inmates in private prisons can cost as much as $1,600 more per year, while many cost about the same as they do in state-run prisons. "

The Reason Foundation, a libertarian organization that receives funding from the GEO Group, quarreled with the Arizona study, saying it "applies creative accounting and ignores healthcare costs."
 
But in 2007, a University of Utah team reviewed years of research on prisons, and concluded that "cost savings from privatizing prisons are not guaranteed and appear minimal," according to the Times.

All of which raises the question: Who benefits from this massive outsourcing of Florida's prisons -- taxpayers or political donors?

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5 comments
LIBIntOrg
LIBIntOrg

Thanks for the article. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues, please see http://www.Libertarian-Interna... the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization.

While privatizing may be a good first step, non-punitive and self-sustaining rehabilitative communities should be studied and versions have been tried in several countries, lowering crime and recidivism. In addition, many feel Florida has a self-created problem from many victimless 'crimes' and excessive sentences.

Garfish
Garfish

I've been told by people from Nashville, TN that Scott has ties to CCA (Corrections Corporation of America).  Things that make you go hmmm.

Free Me
Free Me

What is does do is create an economic incentive to incarcerate citizens at higher rates for innocuous crimes, and keep them locked up at the cost of the taxpayer.

parkland man
parkland man

That's a great business for people that don't know the government pays for each person that sits in jail,i don't know the numbers for sure but i think its a couple of hundred a day from what i have heard,this state should not sell them just run them a little better and it could be a profit center.there is no shortage of people going there that's for sure,customers lined up literally.lol

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