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April 6, 2008

Examining Florida's tough sentencing laws

Today's Daytona Beach News-Journal has this pair of interesting pieces exploring Florida's tough sentencing laws:

Here is an excerpt from the first of these pieces:

By the end of the year, Florida's prison population could top 100,000. The cost of keeping those prisoners behind bars runs close to $20,000 per inmate, per year, and the total correctional budget is more than $2.5 billion. Despite a prison-building spree in the 1990s, Florida's state correctional institutions are near capacity, and the state will need an estimated two new prisons a year to keep up.

When state coffers are full, prison budgets get little scrutiny. But lawmakers are staring down a $2 billion hole in next year's budget.  And some of them are coming to the realization that Florida's lock 'em up philosophy has gone too far, that it's time to rethink some of the overbearing sentencing laws that cost the state so much.  The alternative -- slashing drug treatment and education for inmates and reducing programs that help people turn away from crime -- is all but guaranteed to boomerang on the state, producing an even greater number of people locked hopelessly behind bars and an even tougher strain on taxpayers.

April 6, 2008 at 08:42 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Professional unrelated to law- background social sciences/psych

Posted by: Miguel Rodriguez | May 30, 2008 1:33:44 AM

i was wondering if the mandatory gain time has changed in florida from 85% to 71%? if not what does the govenor plan to do about overpopulation in the state of Florida prison system ... mother of a nonviolent(driving without a license and selling weed to an undercover agent ...doing 4 years) also student doing sociology paqper on for profit prisons

Posted by: monica jennings | Nov 13, 2008 4:56:27 PM

Florida, like Arizona, is a state with a conservative criminal justice system. It will be interesting to see if the system becomes more progressive, as the demographics shift from conservative retiree populations to younger folks. Retirees tend to be much "tougher" on crime and supportive of building more prisons and spending tax dollars on them. I have recently experienced (firsthand) the overwhelming power of the Florida Criminal Justice system and how insidious incarceration and house arrest can be. So long civil liberties if you should happen to allow yourself to be swallowed by this Leviathan. Due process? yeah right. I'm a disabled veteran and first time defendant trying to figure out how this whole criminal justice system works so I can eventually have this GPS ankle monitor removed, avoid incarcaration, and return to functioning in my community. I have had to use my life savings (cashed out my IRA) to pay for my defense, GPS Monitoring fee, and living expenses since my job will not allow me to return to work until these charges are resolved.

Posted by: steve | Dec 11, 2008 1:52:23 PM

I was wondering if there have been any news releases regarding Florida's 85% law. Have there been any amendments that anyone knows of to this recently, due to the overcrowding?

Posted by: KristinQD | Jan 2, 2009 6:29:23 PM

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