Union plans to sue Florida over privatization of prison health care

3:19 PM, Sep 12, 2012   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - A union representing state workers is vowing to sue the state over a plan to privatize health services for Florida's prison inmates.

A panel of state lawmakers called the Legislative Budget Commission approved a plan Wednesday to hire two private companies to handle health care for inmates.

The Department of Corrections is pushing the plan because the agency thinks it will save millions of dollars. But the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees argues privatization will actually cost the state more money and diminish the quality of care.

Union spokesman Doug Martin says Florida's previous experience with these two private prison vendors was a disaster.

"This isn't just a waste of money. It is something that injures and kills people and is a far overstep. So the question has to be asked, if it's not going to save money and it's been a disaster in the past, why are they doing this?"

Martin says AFSCME will sue the state with the argument that the Legislative Budget Commission does not have the authority to create new programs like this.

Gov. Rick Scott has made privatization of prison services one of his main goals. The plan approved on Wednesday could affect more than 2,500 state workers.

Dave Heller

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