A Florida circuit court judge this week said he needs more information before deciding if the state's plans to privatize a lot of its prison operations are legal. The decision will matter big time to Brentwood-based Corizon, which last month was formally awarded a $229 million contract to provide health care to inmates at more than 40 facilities. Corizon executives have promised word on job offers to about 1,800 state employees but state officials have told them to hold off until the court case is resolved.
Cooper said his initial reading of state law suggested that in "plain English" that the panel can tweak the existing state budget but that a "small group of legislators" cannot enact new policy. Lawyers for the state, as well as an attorney for one of the companies seeking to take over health care services for inmates, assert that approval by the panel was legal.