Budget conference: Senate seeks to bring private prison salaries in line with state levels

private prisons (Large)
Florida has offered bonuses and raises to corrections officers, but only those directly employed by the state.

Corrections officers at state prisons received raises years ago. Now the Senate wants $8.5 million to keep pay commensurate at private prisons.

The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee in its latest offer continues to seek $8.5 million for private prison operations.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo’s Office said that’s money entirely intended for officer pay, and to create parity with salaries at the Department of Corrections (DOC).

“When we increase officer salaries for DOC, we have to appropriate funds to increase the salaries for the private prisons as well,” reads an email from Passidomo spokesperson Katherine Betta.

But to date, the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee has not agreed to dedicating any money to private prison salaries.

For the last few years, the Legislature has passed wage increases for public corrections officers, which is all facilitated through the DOC.

House and Senate leadership already agreed to do so again this year, and have seen historic boosts in recruitment and retention ability of correction officers as a result, according to DOC leadership.

Budget negotiations just in the last few days have also provided for other benefits like educational services for corrections officers and their families.

But much of the compensation improvement in recent years has gone only to those working directly for the state and not at private prisons.

The money included in the Senate offer would benefit corrections employees at all three major private prison contractors in the state: CoreCivic, The Geo Group and Management and Training Corp.

The three providers together operate a combined seven prisons in the state.

If the House agrees to the Senate offer, the money will still be directed through the DOC, which last year took oversight of the private facilities.

Previously, the Department of Management Services served as the state oversight of the state’s private prisons.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    February 29, 2024 at 7:45 am

    If you want to give $8.5 million more to private prison staff, that will require $85 billion dollars just to have the $8.5 million left over for staff after the CEO takes his cut for doing SUCH a good job.

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