Correctional Privatization Improving Outcomes in Florida

Letter to the Editor Submitted to The Palm Beach Post

Andrew Marra’s piece [“Make Privatization a Three-Time Loser,” Sept. 19] ignores some important points about correctional public-private partnerships in Florida. The fiscal appeal of privatization is clear; the Florida Department of Management Services recently reported that privately operated facilities cost taxpayers 10-27 percent less to operate than comparable state prisons.

Further, substantive reform is beginning to take root. For example, a Florida Chamber of Commerce evaluation of private and public facilities in south Florida finds private partners have four times as many inmates participating in educational, vocational and life skills programming (79.3 percent versus 21.3 percent). Such investments go a long way toward reducing recidivism.

Regardless of future legislative action, privatization can’t be “made a loser.” It’s an effective policy tool that has been thoughtfully integrated into the system over decades; making all Floridians-not only taxpayers and inmates-better off.

Harris Kenny is a policy analyst at Reason Foundation (