Campaign finance tracker spotlights prisons

Orlando Sentinel reports:

TALLAHASSEE — The National Institute on Money in State Politics is highlighting the contributions of private prison companies to Florida politicians in its latest report, just as the Senate prepares to take up a massive prison privatization plan this week.

According to the group, the private prison industry has gave nearly $1 million in campaign contributions during the 2010 election cycle, the most the industry has given over the last decade, with the donations largely coming from five companies: GeoGroup, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Global Tel* Link, Armor Correctional Health Services, and LCS Corrections Services, Inc.

The full Senate this week will take up a plan to privatize 29 prisons in South Florida, which Senate budget chairman JD Alexander has predicted could save the state up to $45 million. The move is opposed by correctional workers though, who have turned out in large numbers at committee hearings to protest the proposal.

An identical proposal was approved by the Legislature last year, but shot down by the courts on technical grounds because the plan was written into the budget, rather than debated and passed in separate legislation.

To read the institute’s full analysis, click here.

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