(1) The Department of Corrections is authorized to enter into contracts with private vendors for the provision of the operation and maintenance of correctional facilities and the supervision of inmates. However, no such contract shall be entered into or renewed unless:
(a) The contract offers a substantial savings to the department, as determined by the department. In determining the cost savings, the department, after consultation with the Auditor General, shall calculate all the cost components that contribute to the inmate per diem, including all administrative costs associated with central and regional office administration. Services which are provided to the department by other government agencies without any direct cost to the department shall be assigned an equivalent cost and included in the per diem. The private firm shall be assessed the total annual cost to the state of monitoring the contract;
(b) The contract provides for the same quality of services as that offered by the department; and
(c) The Legislature has given specific appropriation for the contract.
(2) Any private vendor entering into a contract with the department pursuant to this section shall be liable in tort with respect to the care and custody of inmates under its supervision and for any breach of contract with the department.
(3) In the case of an inmate’s willful failure to remain within the supervisory control of the private entity, such action shall constitute an escape punishable as provided in s. 944.40. (4) A private correctional officer may use force only while on the grounds of a facility, while transporting inmates, and while pursuing escapees from a facility. A private correctional officer may use nondeadly force in the following situations:
(a) To prevent the commission of a felony or a misdemeanor, including escape.
(b) To defend oneself or others against physical assault.
(c) To prevent serious damage to property.
(d) To enforce institutional regulations and orders.
(e) To prevent or quell a riot.
Private correctional officers may carry and use firearms and may use deadly force only as a last resort, and then only to prevent an act that could result in death or serious bodily injury to oneself or to another person.
(5) Private correctional officers shall be trained in the use of force and the use of firearms and shall be trained at the private firm’s expense, at the facilities that train correctional officers employed by the department.
(6) The provisions of ss. 216.311 and 287.057 shall apply to all contracts between the department and any private vendor providing such services. The department shall promulgate rules pursuant to chapter 120 specifying criteria for such contractual arrangements. (7) The department shall require the certification of private correctional officers at the private vendor’s expense under s. 943.1395, and all such officers must meet the minimum qualifications established in s. 943.13. All other employees of the private vendor that perform their duties at the private correctional facility shall receive, at a minimum, the same quality and quantity of training as that required by the state for employees of state-operated correctional facilities. All training expenses shall be the responsibility of the private vendor. The department shall be the contributor and recipient of all criminal background information necessary for certification by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. (8) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Nondeadly force” means force that normally would neither cause death nor serious bodily injury.
(b) “Deadly force” means force which would likely cause death or serious bodily injury.