September 20, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2016
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, 786-363-2737

MIAMI, FL –An overwhelming majority of Floridians support reforms to the state’s criminal justice system, according to a new survey conducted and released by the James Madison Institute and the Charles Koch Institute.

Reacting to some of the poll’s findings, ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon stated:

“We are heartened by the poll released by the Charles Koch Institute and James Madison Institute showing support for the reform of Florida’s criminal justice system. It is further evidence of broad support for reform from across the ideological spectrum.

“We are heartened that 72% of Floridians agree that it is important to reform Florida’s criminal justice system and that 75% of Floridians agree that the prison population is costing too much money. This is largely because, as almost two-thirds of Floridians understand, there are too many nonviolent offenders, especially those with a drug addiction, now filling our prisons.

“The finding of the depth of public support for reform of the system, as noted by James Madison Institute Vice-President Sal Nuzzo, should now translate into policy changes enacted by our Legislature.  This is especially true of the finding that when juveniles under the age of 18 are put into the adult prison system, their rate of recidivism increases by more than one-third. As the Koch/JMI Poll indicates, this should translate into support by legislators for dramatic reform in the system of ‘direct filing’ of juveniles, by which prosecutors have the sole authority to charge them as adults.”

“This is a moment in time when Legislators can show the courage to act on the breadth depth of public support for the reform of a criminal justice system that is costing too much and not making our state any safer – in fact, in how we treat juvenile offenders, the system is making the state less safe.

“Floridians of all political stripes are ready to reform our broken criminal justice system – the time is now for the legislature to act.”

More information about the survey, including the full poll results, available here:

Note: 72% statistic from page 21 of survey results; 75% statistic, p. 41; juvenile recidivism statistic, p. 57