The ACLU of Florida is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting and strengthening the civil rights and liberties of all Floridians. As a nonprofit membership organization with over 180,000 members and supporters in Florida and more than 1.8 million supporters nationwide, we advance this mission through litigation, advocacy, and education.
Criminal Justice Reform: Reform Florida’s Criminal Justice System
Florida’s criminal legal system locks too many people up for far too long and is designed to disproportionately criminalize, incarcerate, and disenfranchise people of color and those with fewer resources.
We call on the Florida Legislature to enact meaningful criminal justice reforms:
- Increase rehabilitation credits in prison. This one reform will reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and save taxpayers millions of dollars by allowing incarcerated individuals to earn additional time off of their sentence through participating in rehabilitative programming, mental health and drug addiction treatment, and gaining the educational, vocational, and coping skills necessary to successfully transition out of prison.
- Reforming our incentive gain time system is estimated to save Floridians close to 1 billion dollars in five years. These funds should be reinvested in rehabilitative programming, mental health and drug treatment counseling, and reducing racial disparities in our prison population.
- Allow for judges to depart from draconian mandatory sentences when the judge determines that the mandatory sentence is excessive given the unique circumstances surrounding the offense.
- Ensure that a person’s driver’s license is not suspended for non-driving related offenses or because they can’t afford to pay certain fees and fines.
- Provide for judicial involvement in the determination of whether a child should be prosecuted as an adult.
- Eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system and ensure that all Floridians enjoy equal freedoms and protections.
Voting Rights: Protect the Right to Vote
The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. We will advocate to ensure that a system of fair and open elections exists in which all qualified citizens — regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status or any other category — may cast a vote and have it accurately counted. We will oppose any legislation that seeks to disenfranchise eligible voters or makes it more difficult for voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote.
Immigrants' Rights: Defeat Anti-Immigrant Legislation and Protect Immigrant Communities in Florida
Immigrant rights are under attack and we will continue to work tirelessly to defeat xenophobic anti-immigrant legislation and ensure greater protections for all Floridians, regardless of where you were born. We will continue to vigorously oppose unconstitutional legislation that treats immigrants like second class citizens and will forcefully advocate for our most vulnerable populations.
LGBTQ Rights: Ensure No Individual is Discriminated Against Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression
No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. The ACLU of Florida supports comprehensive LGBTQ protections in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, medical care, and government services. We will support legislation ensuring that LGBTQ Floridians and gender nonconforming individuals can live openly, with dignity and respect, and oppose legislation denying such basic human rights.
Reproductive Justice: Safeguard Reproductive Rights
Reproductive rights are essential to an individual's equality, autonomy, economic self-sufficiency, and dignity. We will oppose legislative efforts to erode the constitutional right to abortion and we will be vigilant in protecting the privacy and ability of every Floridian to determine what is right for them.
Free Speech/First Amendment: Protect the Right to Peacefully Protest
The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment. In recent history, challenges to the right to protest have come in many forms, including law enforcement’s crack down on demonstrations through mass arrests, excessive use of force, and curfews. In the wake of protests last year demanding racial justice and an end to police brutality against Black and brown individuals, our Governor is advancing legislation that would silence dissent by imposing harsh criminal penalties that will disproportionately be used against Black and brown peaceful protesters. We will oppose any legislation that seeks to silence, criminalize, and further disenfranchise individuals exercising their First Amendment rights.