A major effort by the Legislature to privatize many of Florida’s prisons was ruled unconstitutional by a state judge last week.
Lawmakers ordered the privatization of 29 existing prisons and work camps in South Florida through “proviso” language that was inserted into the state budget earlier this year, instead of passing a bill vetted through the normal committee review process.
Leon County Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford ordered efforts to seek a private contractor to cease.
In addition to finding that lawmakers improperly ordered prison privatizations, Fulford said they failed to conduct required studies reviewing the benefits and disadvantages of privatization.
The ruling came just days before the Department of Corrections was scheduled to open proposals from vendors.
Florida has a law that prescribes conditions for privatization but it was not followed, according to Fulford.