A massive expansion of private prisons in Florida collapsed in the Senate as nine Republicans joined a dozen Democrats in handing a setback to Senate leaders and a victory to state workers, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The state will not undertake what would have been the single greatest expansion of prison privatization in U.S. history, affecting 27 prisons and work camps in 18 counties and displacing more than 3,500 correctional officers.
Senate leaders said they would have to cut education and health care programs by $16.5 million, the amount supporters had said privatization would save in the first year. Yesterday’s vote was a triumph for a rebellious group of Republicans who rejected supporters’ arguments that for-profit prisons would save tax dollars and increase efficiency. All 12 Democrats also voted no, putting the minority party in the unaccustomed role of being on the winning side.