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Corrections Agency Backed On Substance Abuse Contracts

Caitlin Hillyard/KHN
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

An administrative law judge Friday rejected a challenge to decisions by the Florida Department of Corrections to award two contracts for substance-abuse treatment services in state prisons. 
Judge Darren Schwartz, in a 41-page recommended order, said a protest by GEO Reentry Services, LLC should be dismissed.

The department in January said it planned to award the contracts, totaling about $59 million over five years, to Gateway Foundation, Inc., and The Unlimited Path, Inc.

Gateway would provide services at prisons in the central and southern parts of the state, while The Unlimited Path would provide services across North Florida. GEO raised numerous issues in the protest, but Schwartz rejected the arguments, pointing, for example, to higher costs proposed by GEO.

He wrote that the department's “proposed action in awarding the contracts to Gateway and UPI, and not to GEO, is not contrary to the ITN (invitation to negotiate) specifications, clearly erroneous, contrary to competition, arbitrary or capricious.”

Under administrative law, the recommended order will go back to the Department of Corrections for final action.