Democratic legislators on Friday criticized the Legislature for allowing the Correctional Medical Authority to close, which it did on Thursday. The CMA provided oversight of medical care of Florida prisoners for a quarter century, but was the victim of a funding fight in the Legislature this year. Lawmakers passed legislation to eliminate it, but Gov. Rick Scott vetoed that legislation, in part because of concern that the state might be sued over how it cares for inmates if it got rid of CMA’s oversight. However, lawmakers also didn’t provide any funding for the office. After the veto, there was an opportunity to use the Legislative Budget Commission to move money around to keep the office open, but that didn’t happen. “The shuttering of the Correctional Medical Authority was a grave mistake opening Florida and Florida taxpayers to the possibility of widespread financial and legal repercussions,” Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa and Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, said Friday.
I am reminded of what Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky once said:
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.