In a recent wave of bad legislation, Gov. Rick Scott struck a multi-million dollar deal with, Corizon Inc., a private prison medical care company that is expected to cut over 1,700 workers from the existing state prison workforce.
A Florida public-employee union battled against the Legislature for two years trying to prevent the state from contracting with Corizon Inc., the corporation that will uproot about 1,756 jobs. In the wake of the $230 million deal, Florida Corrections Secretary Mike Crews notified the employees saying “The position you currently occupy with the Department (of Corrections) will no longer be available.” Crews then added that the relieved workers can reapply for their respective positions through Corizon, but those who secure work with the contractor will likely work for less and will be stripped of any state pension benefits.
The Florida Department of Corrections said it will compensate those leaving the state payroll to the tune of over $6 million, collectively. Although the state is compensating those it intends to displace from their livelihood, that still doesn’t guarantee them work after the fact.
However, no state employee has or will have cashed out bigger than Gov. Scott, who has received over $100,000 in political contributions from private prison companies. And now Scott has placed one, with a shady past, under the state’s employ.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Corizon for instances of abuse and inhumane negligence. The company was fined about $382,000 in Idaho for not meeting the state’s basic health care requirements in 2011. The next year in St. Louis, Mo., a suit was filed against Corizon for wrongful death and malpractice. An inmate suffering from heart problems was supposed to be taken to a city hospital following a doctor’s order. Shortly after the doctor made the call, the inmate died of heart complications. The order was never carried out because a Corizon nurse thought the inmate was faking his condition and ignored the medical expert’s advice.
This deal puts thousands of people at risk, state employees, as well as inmates. It threatens the livelihood of these people from every angle and serves only those in state government offices in what they try to pass off as a plan solely designed to save the state money.
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.