Analysis and reaction to prison privatization bill failing on 19-21 vote

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The Senate has voted down a bill that would have broadly privatized prisons in the state. The measure, a priority of the Senate’s leadership, died on a 19-21 vote in the Senate.

Ongoing coverage:

5:28 p.m. – @RealMichaelW: Does this help Latvala “rally the pledge cards”? #sayfie

5:26 p.m. – Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith issued the following statement in response to the failed attempt to privatize Florida prisons:

“Today, Republicans and Democrats came together to stop Governor Rick Scott and Senate President Mike Haridopolos from awarding a large taxpayer contract to one of the GOP’s top political donors. In doing so, they averted the loss of thousands of jobs, the devastation of communities in rural Florida and avoided putting our state’s hardworking correctional officers at risk. In a win for Florida’s families, this bill was rightly defeated.”

5:23 p.m.Palm Beach Post story here.

5:21 p.m. – Final vote details here.

5:19 p.m. – Statement from Julie Ebenstein, Policy and Advocacy Counsel with the ACLU of Florida:

“The Florida Senate averted disaster today by voting down a proposal to create the largest private prison system in America.

“Florida’s prison system needs reform, but private prisons aren’t reform – they deform the process by linking corporate profit to incarceration. The bottom line is that private prisons make money by keeping people in prison when we should be looking for ways to keep them out in the first place.

“If lawmakers want to save money in our prison system, they should reform mandatory minimum sentencing, invest in re-entry programs and re-visit parole policies that feed the addiction to incarceration and throw people into the revolving door that is our prison system.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.