TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- On Tuesday the Florida Senate Committee on Criminal Justice approved Senate Bill 620, which would require the Commission on Offender Review to Partner with the state Department of Corrections (DOC) to adopt certified rules and regulations for how incarcerated people can achieve parole.
Florida effectively abolished parole in the 1990’s. With a prison population of almost 100,000 and a yearly cost of $2.7 billion, this legislation could be a first step in reducing the prison population and getting people out of cages who are no threat to the public. This legislation has the support of the Florida Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform.
The following is a statement from Carrie Boyd, policy counsel for the SPLC Action Fund.
“Florida’s prisons are overcrowded and cost the taxpayers billions of dollars every year. Reestablishing parole is an absolutely essential step in fixing this issue and saving money for Florida taxpayers. No one will automatically get parole under this proposal. People will have to show they deserve it via taking advantage of educational opportunities, rehabilitation and learning a trade. The state also has one of the oldest incarcerated populations in the country. These are people who have aged out of crime and are no threat to anyone.”
The following is a statement from Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel for the ACLU of Florida.
“This bill is not perfect, but it is a first step in opening the door to discussions about the need for parole in Florida. In order to address our overcrowded and inhumane prisons, we need to reestablish a workable parole system that ensures that individuals are not needlessly being warehoused at taxpayer expense. Public safety is always the priority, but there is no public safety benefit in keeping people locked up who do not a pose a threat to society. Evidence has shown that individuals age out of criminal activity. We need a system in place to address those realities and reunite families that have been separated for far too long.”
For a full list of organizations involved in the Florida Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform, go to https://www.betterjusticefl.com/.