Dockery to Senate bosses: Just the prison privatization facts, please

Orlando Sentinel writes:

TALLAHASSEE — Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland is asking Senate leaders pushing a prison privatization plan to cough up the per-prisoner costs for the private prisons already operating in the state.

In a letter to Sens. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, and Budget Chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, she says her requests for such information have been unfruitful. The chamber gridlocked earlier this week over the South Florida privatization bill, without the votes to pass the sweeping proposal.

Here’s the letter:

Senator Alexander and Senator Thrasher:

In the introduction of the prison privatization bill, there have been many different statistics and figures cited. The Department of Corrections, Department of Management Services and Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability all offer different per diem rates, which vary greatly. In addition to this, every OPPAGA report and memo I have read regarding prison privatization notes that their calculations are subject to caveats and should be evaluated cautiously.

As of now, I have received no comprehensive answer as to why Department of Management Services or Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability are using higher per diem rates, than those provided by the Department of Corrections and certified by the Auditor General; and I have seen no convincing evidence that the state’s current private prisons are saving tax dollars.

I would appreciate if you could provide my office with a copy of the analysis you are using when citing savings, and an explanation of how the savings were calculated – including an explanation of what is included in private prison per diems, compared to what is included in the state run prison per diems. I would also like to know why these numbers have been chosen to compare savings instead of using the Department of Correction’s per diem calculations.

Warm Regards,

Paula Dockery, Senator
District 15

Cc:  Senate President Mike Haridopolos 



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