In Florida, a coalition of Democrats and a few moderate Republicans killed what could have been a major expansion of private prisons. The measure would have privatized 27 prisons and displaced more than 3,500 corrections officers. In the Florida Senate, nine Republicans voted against the measure, along with all 12 Democratic state senators. It was a rare victory for both Democrats and the labor unions that fought the bill.
When then-candidate Rick Scott and the police unions were butting heads over Scott's plans to reduce prison costs, I pointed out that neither side was particularly sympathetic. The police unions were accusing Scott of wanting to release dangerous criminals and Scott was arguing that forcing inmates to grow their own food was going to save money.
I meant to link to the Justice Policy Institute's report on private prisons last week, but Andrea Nill Sanchez has a good summary of the report's conclusions about tremendous influence private prison companies have amassed by throwing money around: