Posts Tagged ‘criminal justice reform’

Task force would seek to remake Florida’s criminal justice system

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

Florida’s state lawmakers increasingly are embracing criminal justice reform policies that break with the state’s “tough on crime” past. But a sea change could be in the works.
But a sea change could be in the works.
Last year, Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and the GOP-controlled legislature approved one of the most far-reaching civil asset forfeiture reforms in the country, repealed a 10-20-life mandatory minimum sentencing law, and expanded health care delivery for mentally ill inmates. Mental health advocates say as much as 40 percent of Florida’s prison population needs treatment.
Dozens of reform-related bills already have been filed ahead this year’s state legislative session.
Now, it’s time to go big.
Seizing on momentum, Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg wants to remake the entire system.
“If you look around the country, many other states are leading on criminal justice reform. It’s a wave that’s just starting to hit Florida,” Brandes told Watchdog.org.
“It’s time to look at a holistic view about how to transform the system,” he said.
Brandes is seeking legislative approval to form a task force to conduct a comprehensive review of Florida’s criminal justice, court and corrections systems.
Ultimately, the task force would submit a report with findings, conclusions and recommendations to be molded into legislation for the 2018 state session.
Overhauling state prisons may be the first priority.
“We have prisons that are in a kind of crisis mode right now. We’re having a tough time hiring guards. Contraband rates are through the roof. Our education of prisoners is at rock bottom, and recidivism is a struggle for the state,” Brandes said.
Membership must reflect the racial, gender, geographic and economic diversity of the state, as well as the diversity and demographics of the state’s prison population, according to the proposal. The 28-member group would include members of the House and Senate, judges, academics, faith leaders, victims’ advocates, public

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Florida growing friendlier to criminal-justice reform, poll indicates

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Floridians may be rethinking their throw-the-book-at-’em approach to crime, a poll released Monday suggests.
The survey by The James Madison Institute and the Charles Koch Institute found that 72 percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed it is important to reform criminal justice.
Seventy-five percent agreed or strongly agreed the prison population costs the country too much money.
And almost two thirds believed there were too many nonviolent offenders behind bars.
“The poll solidified what we’ve come to know — Floridians want criminal justice reform,” said Sal Nuzzo, vice president of policy at JMI.
“Policymakers should take serious strides toward improving the outcomes of those within the criminal justice system, increasing public safety and continuing to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” he said.
The survey comes amid increased attention to Florida’s approach to crime. Organizations including Florida TaxWatch and the ACLU of Florida have called for reform, and state Sen. Jeff Brandes wants to make reform a top priority.
Still, the Legislature refused to add 734 jobs to make the Department of Corrections more secure. The new positions would have allowed prison staff to work eight-hour instead of 12-hour shifts.
Meanwhile, violence has been on the rise within the prison system. On Sept. 8, hundreds of inmates created a major disturbance at a Holmes County prison. This followed an incident in June in which 300 inmates smashed up two dormitories at Franklin Correctional Institution; that was the third disturbance there this year.
Survey Sampling International conducted the poll of 1,488 Florida residents in English and Spanish in July through an opt-in web-based panel. The margin for error was pegged at plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Detailed findings here.
In other findings, 72 percent of Floridians said people convicted of felonies should be allowed to secure licenses to work following their release.
And 74 percent said prisons should focus more on rehabilitation than punishment.
Regarding juvenile offenders,

Vote on this story -->>>

Florida growing friendlier to criminal-justice reform, poll indicates

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Floridians may be rethinking their throw-the-book-at-’em approach to crime, a poll released Monday suggests.
The survey by The James Madison Institute and the Charles Koch Institute found that 72 percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed it is important to reform criminal justice.
Seventy-five percent agreed or strongly agreed the prison population costs the country too much money.
And almost two thirds believed there were too many nonviolent offenders behind bars.
“The poll solidified what we’ve come to know — Floridians want criminal justice reform,” said Sal Nuzzo, vice president of policy at JMI.
“Policymakers should take serious strides toward improving the outcomes of those within the criminal justice system, increasing public safety and continuing to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” he said.
The survey comes amid increased attention to Florida’s approach to crime. Organizations including Florida TaxWatch and the ACLU of Florida have called for reform, and state Sen. Jeff Brandes wants to make reform a top priority.
Still, the Legislature refused to add 734 jobs to make the Department of Corrections more secure. The new positions would have allowed prison staff to work eight-hour instead of 12-hour shifts.
Meanwhile, violence has been on the rise within the prison system. On Sept. 8, hundreds of inmates created a major disturbance at a Holmes County prison. This followed an incident in June in which 300 inmates smashed up two dormitories at Franklin Correctional Institution; that was the third disturbance there this year.
Survey Sampling International conducted the poll of 1,488 Florida residents in English and Spanish in July through an opt-in web-based panel. The margin for error was pegged at plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Detailed findings here.
In other findings, 72 percent of Floridians said people convicted of felonies should be allowed to secure licenses to work following their release.
And 74 percent said prisons should focus more on rehabilitation than punishment.
Regarding juvenile offenders,

Vote on this story -->>>

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