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Dispute Over Privatization Of Prison Health Care Services Back In Court

Sascha Cordner

Two unions, upset the state is moving ahead with plans to privatize prison health services, are asking a judge to rule on a case he previously dismissed. They say if the judge does not issue a decision soon, they fear 2,800 state employees will be out of a job.

The Florida Department of Corrections claims it can move ahead with privatizing prison health care services because they have the authority to do so even without a provision written into the budget. But, recently they issued a letter of intent to award contracts to two private companies under an expired budget provision, despite a judge’s earlier ruling that the issue was moot because it had expired.

That’s why Spokesman for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, Doug Martin says his union as well as the Florida Nurses Association want a clear cut ruling, adding the employees they represent are in limbo:

“And, if this goes through, they’re going to lose their health insurance, their retirement. They’re going to lose their careers,” said Martin.

Wednesday, Leon Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll asked lawyers from both sides to submit additional arguments by the end of next week before he makes a final decision.