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Controversial prison privatization bill has support of jail chaplains

As the prison privatization debate continues, among the proponents are jail chaplains. As Sascha Cordner reports, they say the legislation will provide an opportunity to expand the success of faith-and-character-based programs.

Faith-based and business leaders say privatizing about 30 South Florida prisons is the best way to accomplish what they call long-overdue reform. Claudio Perez is the President and CEO of South Florida Jail Ministries. He says the state is not doing enough for the faith-based programs, and a private company can do it better.

“It’s a shame to see what is happening with the inmates as they’re being released without any type of training or substance abuse, mental health, and it has been lacking for years and years. So, this is an opportunity.”

Perez delivered a letter on behalf of about 15 chaplains advocating for the prison privatization effort, a plan opponents say won’t save the state any money.  The letter is addressed to Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.