Tea Party, NAACP oppose Florida prison privatization plan

February 13, 2012 

The Tea Party and the NAACP are at opposite ends of the political spectrum on a lot of things, but on one pressing issue in Tallahassee they are in sync: prison privatization. As the Senate prepares again to debate the controversial issue, the Tea Party and the nation's oldest civil rights group have issued statements opposing the proposed outsourcing of more than two dozen South Florida prisons.

The Tea Party, usually opposed to more government spending, isn't buying the notion that private prisons save money. Henry Kelley of Fort Walton Beach, speaking for the Tea Party Network, a coalition of 80 groups statewide, said they are concerned about "crony capitalism and deals that ultimately turn out bad for taxpayers." He said the Tea Party Network is not convinced that the bill (SB 2038) will yield the proimised savings, and that the group favors an amendment by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, that would substitute a study or privatization for the plan itself.

The NAACP's Dale Landry held a news conference at the Capitol Monday at which he said private prison giants such as GEO Group and Corrections Corp. of America are about maximizing profits, not keeping communities safe. Landry also claimed rehabilitation programs in private, for-profit prisons are less comprehensive than in state prisons. "The safety of communities," the NAACP said, "should not be for sale."

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