Reduce mandatory sentencing serving time from 85% to 65% retroactive for all offenders
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- Reduce the current mandatory sentencing serving time from 85 % to 65% retroactive for all offenders including those with violent offenses.
- Increase Good Time earned for the participation in or completion of Education and Vocation programs adding this on top to the Good Time.
- Add Good Time for the participation in or completion of Substance abuse or basic life skills programs on top of the Good Time.
The United States has the highest prison population in the world. Florida’s Department of Corrections (FDC) ranks number 10 in the country, it is the third largest state prison system with 151 facilities statewide and a yearly budget of about $2.4 billion. There are approximately 98,000 inmates incarcerated in Florida’s prisons which are required to serve a Minimum of 85% of their sentence regardless of the type of crime they committed. Parole was eliminated for non-capital felonies committed on or after July 1, 1984. Between May 24,1994 and October 1, 1995 Legislation was passed that eliminated parole for all capital offenses as well. When the Statutes was amended in 1995 it provided that the offender could earn monthly awards of incentive gain-time up to 10 days per month. However, they are prohibited from earning further gain time that would exceed the 85% minimum established in 1995.
In 2016 the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee introduced SB7066 which would reduce the required Minimum from 85% to 65% retroactive. A Bill Analysis and Fiscal Impact Statement was done on February 9, 2016; Prepared by: The Professional Staff of the Committee on Criminal Justice.
The following is a summary of the results of the Analysis and Impact Statement:
- Fewer nonviolent inmates going into state prison
- Substantially more inmates serving shorter sentences
- Significant cost reduction by modifying the gain-time law form 85% Mandate to 65%, this would result in and estimated reduction of 7,772 inmates and a cost avoidance of nearly $1 billion over the next five fiscal years.
In Recent studies done of the DOC (Florida Department of Corrections) it was found that length of stay (LOS) in Florida’s prisons exceeds the national LOS. The LOS in Florida has consistently increased. An increase of 166% from 1999 to 2008. And it keeps increasing, in 2008 the LOS was under 30 months and by 2015 it was about 40 months. The length of imprisonment has no impact on lowering or increasing nor can be used as a predictor of recidivism (re-offend). There were no Constitutional Issues found by this Analysis and there would be a reduction of about 7,772 inmates and a saving of about $1 billion in the next 5 fiscal years.
We are talking about the lives of about 7,772 inmates and their families which would be impacted by modifying the required Minimum sentence served from 85% to 65% retroactive. With the added benefit of a savings of about $1 billion over the next 5 fiscal years. And yet the bill (SB7066) died in Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice on 3/11/2016. Why? Because prisons are a multi million-dollar industry. Florida has 7 privately operated prisons which house more than 10% of the state's inmate population with an annual cost of over $142 million. The private corporations that have or want to have contracts with the DOC have political power and are well connected. They spend millions lobbying and on campaign contributions.
It is time to tell our local and State elected officials that they work for us, NOT the big corporations. We cannot let them FORGET that we voted for them. We need to hold them accountable. It has been 20 years since they reformed the Justice system and all it has done is make the corporations rich and separated families.
We are advocating for complete reform of the system starting with:
Reduction of the current mandatory sentencing serving time from 85 % to 65% retroactive for all offenders including those with violent offenses.
- There is no evidence that longer sentences prevent a person from re-offending. California has 6 Months per 6 Months and Mississippi recently reduced from 85% to 50% for violent offenders and 25% nonviolent offenders.
Increase Good Time earned for the participation in or completion of Education and Vocation programs adding this on top to the Good Time.
- During 2015-16, the Department awarded ONLY 1,312 General Education Development (GED) diplomas. The truth is that they have little to no education programs and the wait list for some of the programs is of 2 years or more. By keeping them locked up longer with no education or rehabilitation it makes it almost impossible for them to succeed once out of the prison.
Add Good Time for the participation in or completion of Substance abuse or basic life skills programs on top of the Good Time.
- Substance abuse is a disease which in my opinion should be treated in a medical facility. However, if we are sentencing them to prisons and “providing rehabilitation and treatment” they should be able to count this in their gain time.
We need education and treatment for addiction not prisons. Many of the people in prison do not pose a danger to the community. People make mistakes and by locking them up without hope of leaving sooner we are setting them up for failure.
Please sign the petition and call your elected officials, tell them that you support Justice reform.
Tell them that you support the reduction of the mandatory sentencing serving time to 65% and increase gain-time on top of the 65% for completing education and substance abuse programs.
Let our voice be stronger than the millions that these corporations spend in lobbing to keep longer sentence time. Let’s not let them forget that they took in oath to work for all of us not the few that lobby them.
Together we can make a difference sign the petition today!
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