Re the July 12 story “Legislators quietly dish no-bid, $3 million contract to private prison group:” Despite significant financial constraints, LEAP (Ladies Empowerment & Action Program) has provided evidence-based programming to incarcerated women in Florida for more than eight years at no cost to taxpayers. This is programming the state should be providing to ensure inmates don’t return to prison.
Transition, Inc. has provided job placement and career counseling to thousands of ex-offenders in South Florida for 40 years, also with a bare-bones budget.
Yet, state lawmakers fork over millions to an out-of-state private prison vendor (The Geo Group) without a public bid process. It surely is no coincidence the private contractor employs lobbyists and donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns.
If the state awarded a fraction of that money to LEAP, Transition, Inc., or other nonprofit re-entry service providers, we could serve more inmates, save more taxpayer money, spend less time fund-raising, and spend more time rehabilitating inmates — all to make communities safer.
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Mahlia Lindquist, executive director, LEAP, Miami
Anne Manning, executive director, Transition, Inc., Miami