Dear Floridians, snowbirds and anyone who vacations in Florida,
It is very important that you support the following Senate Bill. I urge you to support and sign this. We are paying millions of taxpayer dollars in keeping the elderly in prison. This Bill would release ONLY inmates who are no threat to society. Many of them are women who were only protecting themselves or their children against their abuser.
Florida Senate - 2010 SB 484
By Senator Smith
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to elderly inmates; creating the
3 Elderly Rehabilitated Inmate Program to authorize the
4 Parole Commission to approve the early release of
5 certain elderly inmates; defining terms; providing
6 eligibility requirements for an inmate to participate
7 in the program; requiring that the petition to
8 participate in the program include certain documents;
9 requiring the Department of Corrections to notify the
10 victim or the victim's family within a specified
11 period that a petition has been filed; detailing the
12 criteria that must be satisfied before the petition to
13 participate in the program may be approved; requiring
14 that the inmate participate in community service and
15 submit to electronic monitoring as conditions for
16 participating in the program; requiring the Department
17 of Corrections to implement pilot programs patterned
18 on restorative justice programs in one female and two
19 male correctional institutions; providing that any
20 proposed programs be developed after consultation with
21 specified persons; authorizing the department to
22 conduct the programs using departmental employees or
23 private agencies; requiring that the Elderly
24 Rehabilitated Inmate Program include comprehensive
25 victim services to ensure the safety of victims after
26 the release of an inmate under the program; requiring
27 the department to adopt rules; providing an effective
30 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
32 Section 1. Elderly Rehabilitated Inmate Program; pilot
34 (1) As used in this section, the term:
35 (a) "Commission" means the Parole Commission.
36 (b) "Department" means the Department of Corrections.
37 (c) "Program" means the Elderly Rehabilitated Inmate
39 (2) An inmate who:
40 (a) Is 50 years of age or older;
41 (b) Has served at least 25 consecutive years of
42 imprisonment in an institution or facility of the department;
44 (c) Is serving a sentence other than death,
46 may petition the commission to participate in the Elderly
47 Rehabilitated Inmate Program.
48 (3) Each petition filed on behalf of an inmate to
49 participate in the program must contain:
50 (a) Documentation of the inmate's relevant medical history,
51 including current medical prognosis; and
52 (b) The inmate's prison experience and criminal history.
53 The criminal history must include any claim of innocence, the
54 degree to which the inmate accepts responsibility for his or her
55 acts leading to the conviction of the crime, and how the claim
56 of responsibility has affected the inmate's feelings of remorse.
57 (4) If an eligible inmate files a petition to participate
58 in the program, the department shall notify the victim or the
59 family of the victim no later than 30 days after the petition is
61 (5) The commission may approve an inmate for participation
62 in the program if the inmate demonstrates:
63 (a) Successful participation in programs designed to
64 restore the inmate as a useful and productive person in the
65 community upon release or, if such programs are not available,
66 the inmate demonstrates an attempt to be a useful and productive
67 person in the community upon release;
68 (b) Genuine reform and changed behavior over a period of
70 (c) Remorse for actions that have caused pain and suffering
71 to the victims of his or her offenses;
72 (d) An ability to socialize with others in an acceptable
73 manner; and
74 (e) A renunciation of criminal activity and gang
75 affiliation if the inmate was a member of a gang.
76 (6) The commission shall consider the petition in its
77 entirety and may not order the release of an inmate if the
78 commission finds that the inmate poses a continued threat to
79 public safety. If the commission determines that an inmate is
80 eligible for and should participate in the Elderly Rehabilitated
81 Inmate Program, the commission shall set the conditions for the
82 inmate's release from prison before the expiration of the
83 inmate's sentence. The commission, when granting participation
84 in the program, shall require the inmate to participate in 10
85 hours of community service for each year served in prison and
86 require that the inmate be subject to electronic monitoring for
87 at least 1 year.
88 (7) An inmate may file only one petition to participate in
89 the program.
90 (8) The department shall develop a pilot program that is
91 patterned on restorative justice programs and includes classes
92 on the effect of crime on crime victims. The pilot program shall
93 be implemented at one maximum security prison for women and at
94 two maximum security prisons for men. Restorative justice
95 programs that include classes on the effect that crime has on
96 victims shall be made available on a voluntary basis to inmates
97 who are eligible to participate in the Elderly Rehabilitated
98 Inmate Program.
99 (9) Any proposed program or strategy created under this
100 section must be developed after identifying a need in the
101 community for such program, through consultation with
102 representatives of the public, members of the judiciary, law
103 enforcement agencies, state attorneys, and defense attorneys.
104 (10) The department may provide departmental staff to
105 conduct the programs created under this section or may contract
106 with other public or private agencies for the delivery of
107 services related to the programs created under this section.
108 (11) The program must include comprehensive victim services
109 in order to ensure the safety of victims upon the release of an
110 inmate under the program.
111 (12) The department shall adopt rules to administer this
113 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.
I strongly support S B 484, the bill addressing the release of elderly inmates who qualify as described in the statute. As a taxpayer, I am pleased to see the Legislature taken this action given the overcrowded prison system and budget issues in the State of Florida, I believe that the release of selected elderly inmates is in all our best interests, and it is certainly a cost effective solution. As inmates age the cost of their incarceration escalates though their potential for violence decreases. Many of these inmates are truly ill, pose no threat to society, and can be released with no danger to society whatsoever. I applaud this sensible and forward thinking legislation.