Smart Justice for a Safer Florida
  • Press Release: Steady Advance of Smart Justice Legislation Continues; Bills Nearing Floor Votes

    April 11, 2013

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Continuing its steady advance through the legislative process, Florida’s Smart Justice package won unanimous approval today from a key Senate appropriations subcommittee. The legislation, which will contribute the enhanced public safety, lower recidivism and cost savings, now has just one more committee stop in each chamber before consideration by the full Senate and House.

    Today’s approval by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice was the fourth time the innovative package has won overwhelming passage in the legislative committee process. Most recently, it received unanimous support in the House Justice Appropriations subcommittee earlier this week. The two chambers’ full Appropriations Committees must consider the legislation before it is ready for floor votes.

    The Senate legislation (SB 1032) will help ensure that Florida-born inmates leave prison with an ID card or the information needed to secure one, and will encourage the Department of Corrections to increase faith- and character-based services to inmates.

    Department of Corrections statistics show that 43 percent of inmates entering the prison system each year are reoffenders, yet fewer than one-fourth of released inmates received substance abuse or mental health counseling that could have helped them live law-abiding lives after their release. By working to break this pattern, the Smart Justice legislation will reduce recidivism, enhance public safety and save tax dollars. It does not alter the requirement that prisoners serve at least 85 percent of their sentences before being eligible for release.

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