Support FL SB 1744-Bring Back Parole for Those Who Deserve it!

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                                 "LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE"        

“The Other Death Sentence! Help End Death By Incarceration”

THE FORGOTTEN MAJORITY: Petitioning Governor Rick Scott to take action to  reinstate Parole in Florida for ALL who have demonstrated a change, rehabilitated, pose no threat to society and are not likely to re-offend. Florida has the third largest prison system in the country and any offender who committed a crime after October 1, 1983 is ineligible for parole. This accounts for a prison population in Florida that is bulging at the seams, exceeding 100,000 inmates and costing tax payers $2.3 billion annually. There are several dynamics at work here starting with the adoption of mandatory minimum sentencing which may force a judge to impose an extreme sentence that is not commensurate with the crime or the circumstances. On a higher note, providing rehabilitation to paroled offenders would reduce the financial headlock the Florida Department of Corrections holds around the necks of all Floridians. For offenders and their families, no hope of parole means no hope at all. Help us to help those who have served significant time and have shown themselves worthy of that second chance. We can’t do it without your help.

Thousands of individuals are waiting in Florida’s prisons, as well as others throughout the US…to die. These individuals instead of given a Death Sentence received a Life Sentence in prison to die by incarceration. Without the possibility of parole a Life Sentence it is no different than a Death Sentence. So…at the present time, without a parole release program or control release program, those inmates that have worked extremely hard during their incarceration to better themselves, educate and rehabilitate, will never have that opportunity to prove themselves worthy and will die in prison.

This is the result of laws intended to keep prison cells filled. But…who really benefits from these laws? Is it society, the tax-payers, these individuals? The answer is those corporations and individuals who make a profit off of the suffering of their fellow human beings.

In the last legislative session here in the state of Florida, a bill had been proposed by Senator Darryl Rouson, and was being worked on in comity meetings. This bill was initially deigned to help relieve the cost of an aging prison population on an overburdened prison system and also provide persons convicted of a non-capital offense and sentenced for a life term to qualify for conditional release under certain conditions; requiring that the Department of Corrections on a specified date review certain records of persons serving life sentences and compile such information for the Florida Commission on Offender Review to use in making certain determinations regarding conditional release, etc  The proposed bill is a Conditional Release Program for those serving Life Sentences.(SB1744) https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/1744/BillText/Filed/PDF .

I was told the Senate Bill #1744 was voluntarily withdrawn by the committee, because it was to narrow, it would not achieve its goal. One reason is the requirement that an inmate be disciplinary free for at least 20 years of their life sentence. Remember, before discussions and proposing of this bill, there were no incentives for an inmate with a life sentence to do the right thing. No matter what you did, or how DR free, you were not getting out of prison, ever! Even inmates who have striven to do right, have a strong walk of faith, etc…, fall short or fell short years ago. We are human, as are those officers who work for D.O.C

What about those who received Life Sentences and those who have received extremely harsh sentences due to some form or another of the Get Tough on Crime Laws? The Pew Justice Institute researched prisoners who were around 40 or over who had done at least 10 years of their sentences, completed vocation, education and self-help classes, etc…. What did this research reveal? Their recidivism rate was anywhere from 60 to 70% lower than First Time Offenders’.  In fact, less than 10% of these individuals re-offended.

Sadly, Florida’s Prison population has thousands with Life Sentences who meet the Pew research’s Standard. Yet, due to these Draconian Laws they have no hope or opportunity for redemption based upon their merits. We need to change this situation, and give every inmate who qualifies and deserves an opportunity to re-enter Society that opportunity.

Some incarcerated individuals, myself included, have participated voluntarily in anger management, drug treatment, problem resolution, thinking for a change, life skills, and faith and character based classes and programs. For others, they may not have had the same opportunities, but with the motivation to be considered for release, I can guarantee they would seek those classes and programs out. Why not make it part of the requirement for consideration? Plant the seeds, and watch the crops grow. There are already “After Care” programs in place, like the “Continuum of care program” GED offers. Make this program available to all newly released inmates period.  Save money in advance, instead of guaranteeing recidivism.

Without the opportunity for parole or some other type of release, what is the motivation for an incarcerated to do the right thing in prison? Without any hope of seeing the streets and living a normal life, what incentives are there? This is the atmosphere created by these ridicules, and failed draconian sentencing schemes, and is the laws in so many states. Using Florida as an example, the state department of corrections seal used to say, “The Florida department of correction and rehabilitation”! Today’s seal no longer has “and rehabilitation” and especially those with life sentences, there is no rehabilitation.  In fact, if an inmate has a life sentence, many educational and vocational classes are not available to them.
Excerpt taken from “Wrongly Charged: A Look at the Legal System” By: David Merkatz, Prominent books, 2015

Inmate Jack Allen describes Life Sentence in Florida like this:

“It becomes worse and worse after every court denial, every death in the family, every marriage missed, every child born without you there.  Special days like graduations and so forth are just nails in your coffin.  Each passing day, more dirt is thrown on your grave, you are dead, and your body just does not know it yet.”  For myself and thousands of others serving Life Sentences, the state of Florida intends to incarcerate us until our last breath.

            By signing this Petition, you will be telling the Governor of Florida, his Cabinet, Senators and Congressman that this is the Moral and Ethical thing to do. Give those individuals the opportunity they deserve. You will be sending a message to the Prosecutors and Judges and yes, to the Prison Industrial Complex that “Enough is Enough!”  With an ever increasing and aging prison population of individuals waiting to die, medical and housing costs increase dramatically. This burden is passed on to the tax payers. Isn’t Enough Enough? 

Won’t you help us get this bill passed to fix this broken system and help the State of Florida reach the ideal of rehabilitation, and give those who deserve it, the opportunity to return to society. If so please sign and share this petition and contact Governor Rick Scott and the committee today!! Thousands of Lives depend on it!

Office of Governor Rick Scott : 
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001-----------------(850) 488-7146

http://www.flgov.com/contact-gov-scott/email-the-governor/

Please help support this Injustice by signing and sharing the attached petition as well! After 20 years of imprisonment, further incarceration is not necessary. Support freedom deserved! https://www.change.org/p/support-the-release-freedom-deserved

Committee on Criminal Justice Members:
Chair: Senator Randolph Bracy (D) Vice Chair: Senator Dennis Baxley (R)

Senator Aaron Bean (R) Senator Rob Bradley (R) Senator Jeff Brandes (R)
Senator Jeff Clemens (D) Senator Denise Grimsley (R) Senator Darryl Ervin Rouson

Committee on Judiciary Members:
Chair: Senator Greg Steube (R) Vice Chair: Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)

Senator Randolph Bracy (D) Senator Rob Bradley (R) Senator Anitere Flores (R)
Senator Rene Garcia (R) Senator Audrey Gibson (D) Senator Debbie Mayfield (R)
Senator Bobby Powell (D) Senator Perry E. Thurston, Jr. (D)

Committee on Appropriations Members:
Chair: Senator Jack Latvala (R) Vice Chair: Senator Anitere Flores (R)                          

Senator Dennis Baxley (R) Senator Aaron Bean (R) Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R) Senator Lauren Book (D) Senator Randolph Bracy (D) Senator Rob Bradley (R)
Senator Jeff Brandes (R) Senator Oscar Braynon II (D) Senator George B. Gainer (R) Senator Bill Galvano (R) Senator Audrey Gibson (D) Senator Denise Grimsley (R) Senator Bill Montford (D) Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R)
Senator Bobby Powell (D) Senator David Simmons (R) Senator Wilton Simpson (R)
Senator Kelli Stargel (R) Senator Linda Stewart (D)

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Karen Michalak needs your help with “Support Florida SB 1744-Conditional Release Program. "Reenact Parole For Those Who Deserve It!" Support those who have proven they deserve a second chance! End Mass Incarceration!”. Join Karen and 670 supporters today.