Smart Justice for a Safer Florida

Smart Justice Facts: Public Support

Floridians clearly support Smart Justice. According to an opinion survey conducted for Florida TaxWatch’s Center for Smart Justice in December 2011:
  • 60% agree that not every person convicted of a minor non-violent crime should go to prison
  • 84% support major changes in the system that could send fewer non-violent offenders into prison and instead look to cheaper, more effective forms of punishment
  • 88% support supervised work release programs for people convicted of low-level non-violent crimes, and using their earnings to pay back victims and support dependents
  • 86% agree that a person with a “tough on crime” philosophy can also support cost-effective programs that enhance public safety and save taxpayer dollars
  • 70% recognize that even though prisons play an important role in public safety, they also have the unintended consequence of hardening non-violent, low-level offenders
  • 72% agree that fewer people convicted of minor non-violent crimes should be sent to prison, with the savings used to create stronger probation and parole programs
  • Only one in three Floridians disputes the idea that too many children are being tried as adults and prison is a training ground to turn those children into hardened criminals
  • 83% agree that offenders under the age of 18 who commit non-violent crimes should be handled by the juvenile justice system and not by the adult justice system
  • 81% believe Florida can help prevent young offenders from becoming hardened criminals through less costly alternatives that combine proven treatment and behavioral therapies with direct family participation and community involvement
  • When asked to choose between two different statements, 65% agree that “it is time for a balanced, smart approach on crime this focused on prevention,” while only 26% agree that “the best way to fight crime is to make sure that criminals face punishment that is swift and certain.”
  • While survey respondents indicted strong support for a Smart Justice approach, 83% identify themselves as “very conservative” or “somewhat conservative.”