'Not a Surprise': Florida’s Ex-Senate President Takes Job With Private Prison Firm

December 11, 2018 AT 10:10 AM

By Lawrence Mower

When news broke that Florida’s outgoing state Senate president, Joe Negron, took a job with the massive private prison operator Geo Group, it did not come as a shock to criminal justice reform advocates.

“I hate to be cynical like this, but it’s not a surprise,” said Panagioti Tsolkas, a founder of Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons, an advocacy group. “I think it’s pretty disgusting.”

Negron’s support for private prisons — and their support of him — had been written about for years. When the Republican from Stuart became Senate president in 2016, the company gave $270,000 to a political committee he controlled. When his wife ran for Congress, Geo shelled out another $100,000 to her losing cause.

Negron voted for private prison interests and was instrumental in getting the company millions more in taxpayer dollars. In 2012, Negron voted for a bill that would have privatized the entire prison system; it nearly passed.

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