Florida Judge Finds Prison Privatization Plan Unconstitutional
Posted Sep 30, 2011 3:05 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen
A Florida judge on Friday declared the state legislature's prison privatization plan unconstitutional.
The decision, which is likely to be appealed, brings to a halt for now the state's plan to privatize 30 prisons in 18 Florida counties, the St. Petersburg Times reports.
Tallahassee Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford held that the legislature erred by including the privatization plan in the state budget. Fulford said if lawmakers wanted to privatize the prisons they should have done so in a separate law.
The ruling is regarded as a victory for the Florida Police Benevolent Association, the union representing correctional officers, which sued the state to stop the privatization plan from moving forward and save thousands of its members' jobs.
The state Department of Corrections has suspended the procurement plan and canceled a bid opening planned for Tuesday, according to a department spokeswoman.