Florida is a leader in privatizinggovernment functions from prisons, foster care, substitute teachers and public schools, sometimes to nonprofit…

Florida is a leader in privatizing government functions from prisons, foster care, substitute teachers and public schools, sometimes to nonprofit entities and often to for profit corporations. As the authors point out there are pros and cons. Those favoring privatization tend to stress business-like efficiency or watching the bottom line on cost/profit. Opponents caustion about a loss of transparency for the public or privacy of citizens turned over to a private corporation. Public workers are often low paid but with a reasonable benefit package of health care and eventual retirement benefits. Many are deeply dedicated to their job such as teachers. One way privatization may save money is by lowering benefits to workers and perhaps having less fulltime workers. The workers they hire may be the trained workers laid off by the state in privatization.There are a range of concern especially when privatization is to a for profit organization. That organization will obtain buildings (prisons etc) built and paid for by the tax payer and the organization will receive guaranteed revenue of the tax payer funded contract. In one of the worst cases in Pennsylvania, juvenile detention was privatized. The contractors as is typical were paid by the occupied bed. Ultimately it would be discovered that the contracting company was paying kickbacks to a judge to sentence more juveniles to detention and for longer sentences than would be expected therefore increasing revenue through occupied beds.
Fortunately the scheme was discovered and those adults involved sentenced to prison including the judge (28 years), but juveniles had been wrongly incarcerated. Of course we also see occassion of financial or behavioral wrongdoing by government employees too as happened in Florida’s prison system.
So which is the better method for state to provide public services, by state employees or private companies?

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