Tallahassee Democrat: Our Opinion: Corrections challenge

Editorial in today’s Tallahassee Democrat:

Edwin G. Buss, Florida’s new Department of Corrections secretary, may have as much of a challenge dealing with the Institution of Micromanaging known as the Florida Legislature as he ever will in dealing with 100,000 prisoners, 129 facilities — and now a civil lawsuit over a sweeping new prison-privatization law.

Mr. Buss is named as defendant in the Florida Police Benevolent Association’s suit to block the privatization plans that lawmakers expanded from Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal to privatize only programs at the institutions, to privatizing a number of South Florida facilities in their entirety.

“It’s the most aggressive privatizing expansion plan in the country,” Mr. Buss told the Democrat’s editorial board Wednesday, adding that he also “fully supports” the PBA going forward with its challenge.

Meanwhile, DOC must go forward with the scenario lawmakers insisted be brought to its final act in now less than six months, by Jan. 1. It requires privatizing not just new prisons as they are constructed, which is common, but also existing ones, which is far more complex and puts some 1,750 current employees’ jobs on the line.

Mr. Buss, highly saluted nationally for his professional expertise in corrections, said he came to Florida from Indiana largely on the salesmanship of Mr. Scott, whom he describes as, “Very impressive, very direct, very personable and one of the most genuine people you’ve ever met.”



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