Lawmakers should hold field hearings on the state Department of Corrections’ plan to close seven state prisons and four work camps, the union that now represents many corrections officers said Friday. The state announced Thursday that is closing the seven prisons, a move that will save at least tens of millions of dollars, but also could have serious consequences for some rural areas where prisons are the main employer. “These proposed closures would devastate the dedicated correctional officers who work at these facilities, their families and the small businesses in the surrounding communities,” said Ken Wood, acting president of Teamsters Local 2011, which recently won the right to represent corrections officers in Florida. “The decision to close these prisons has been anything but transparent. It would be a dereliction of duty to rush into prison closings without careful public review, especially when the economic health of our communities and the safety of our citizens are at stake.” State corrections officials have said no prisoners will be released – the system has too many empty beds, which is the reason given for the closures. Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker said those whose jobs are eliminated will get the opportunity to work elsewhere in the system as much as possible.
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.