Smart Justice for a Safer Florida

Smart Justice Facts: Substance Abuse & Mental Health

  • 33% of non-violent drug offenders repeat within three years, but 82% of those who complete community drug treatment successfully avoid re-offending within three years.
  • This reduced recidivism saves taxpayers $40 million per year compared to the costs of incarceration.
  • 24% of individuals admitted to Florida prisons for drug offenses were sent there for possession only, not for offenses involving drug manufacturing or trafficking
  • Prison admissions for drug possession in FY 2011 cost Florida taxpayers more than $59 million
  • Recidivism for drug possession is 15% higher than recidivism for all other offenses (1996-2007 releases). Almost three of five drug possession offenders who return to prison are re-incarcerated for more serious offenses.
  • Among inmates sentenced under mandatory minimum drug laws, 85% had no prior Florida prison record for violent felonies, and 75% had never been to prison before.
  • The cost of incarcerating Floridians for mandatory minimum drug offenses was more than $97.5 million in FY 2011.
  • Three-quarters of state, federal and county jail inmates meet criteria for either mental health or substance use problems
  • Three-quarters of state, federal and county jail inmates meet criteria for either mental health or substance use problems
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