To a state grappling with crowded prisons and a ballooning crime rate, it was an irresistible offer: Farm out management of Florida prisons to for-profit corporations.
Efficiency, not bureaucracy, would be the new normal.
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Staff researchers Niels Heimeriks and Michelle Quigley contributed to this story.
THE PRIVATE PRISON SERIES
In an eight-month investigation, The Post takes an unprecedented look at the private prison giants operating in Florida. For five Sundays, we’ll show you the deals that guarantee profit, how allies in key posts get them done and the patterns of rape, murder and riots behind bars.
Taxpayer savings? Minus a byzantine state formula, most private prisons haven’t saved
Tough-on-crime laws filled prisons: Florida legislators and prison companies both members of group that wrote model legislation
Human rights: Patterns of rape, murder, squalor in lockups staffed by too few, often inexperienced guards
Judge says prison firm lied about guards in Idaho: In Florida, two companies fined over staffing
Who’s watching: Guards have been arrested themselves on charges from welfare fraud to grand-theft auto
The politics: Prison operators dominate behind the scenes: big campaign money, embedded allies and laws that grow prison business
The solution: Why conservatives and liberals agree on sentencing changes
Read more about the cases in annotated source documents
$2.1 billion: Florida’s 2011-2012 prison operations budget
90,850: Number of inmates in public prisons in Florida
10,078: Number of inmates in private prisons in Florida
123: Number of publicly run prisons, work camps and work release centers in Florida as of June 2012
7: Number of privately run prisons in Florida
GEO Group Inc (NYSE: GEO)
Based in Boca Raton
Lockups: 73,000 beds at 100 prisons, jails and detention centers in U.S., Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom.
Revenue: $1.4 billion
Their position: “Public-private partnerships in Florida have achieved significant cost savings for taxpayers.”
Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW)
Based in Nashville
Lockups: 92,500 beds in 67 correctional and detention centers in 20 states and Washington, D.C.
Revenue: $1.75 billion
Their position: “In Florida, where our company has worked in good faith and strong partnership for nearly two decades, the law requires that partnership prisons save at least 7 percent over comparable public prisons, which we often exceed.”
Management & Training Corp. (private)
Based in Centerville, Utah
Lockups: 30,340 beds in 14 prisons and jails, all in the United States
Revenue: $704 million
Their position: “We have a solid track record of operating safe and secure facilities while providing our customers with savings.”
Source: Most recent company reports, interviews