Florida Smart Justice Alliance Press Conference

February 19, 2013  |  No Comments  |  by Barney Bishop  |  News

Two state lawmakers say they have a plan to help stop the revolving door at Florida prisons for too many ex-convicts.

Sen. Thad Altman and Rep. Dennis Baxley have filed legislation that would offer more drug treatment and vocational training to nonviolent criminals in the last three years of their sentences.

Two of every five inmates admitted to prisons are reoffenders. Most don’t get any kind of treatment behind bars — only 23 percent of inmates receive any kind of treatment.

Rep. Baxley says the Department of Corrections can do more within its existing budget to help inmates succeed when they’re released.

Rep. Dennis Baxley/ R-Ocala (:13)
“That is our ultimate objective is fewer crimes and fewer crime victims, simply by doing some things smarter with people who are in our system we could reduce those recidivism numbers.”

Sen. Thad Altman/ R-Melbourne (:16) (says too often Florida just gives an inmate $50 upon release)
“It’s no wonder we have such a high recidivism rate here in the state of Florida and all throughout the country for that matter and it’s no secret that our criminal justice system is pretty much a revolving door. Something has to be done.”

Rep. Darryl Rouson/ D-St. Petersburg (:19)
“If you always do what you’ve always done you, will always get what you’ve always got. In this instance, it’s been broken. When you have captured a person’s body at the same time we must capture their minds and their souls and give them treatment.”

The ideas in the bill were developed by the Florida Smart Justice Alliance.

Some of the provisions include: developing a re-entry program for nonviolent offenders with shorter sentences and creating facilities where inmates can get substance abuse treatment or educational and vocational training.

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