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Larry Hannan, larry.hannan@splcenter.org, (850) 661-0934
ACLU of Florida media office, media@aclufl.org, (786) 363-2737
Denise Rock, Florida Cares, info@floridacarescharity.org, (561) 502-0393
FRRC Media Team, press@floridarrc.org, (407) 913-1743

October 15, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- Florida Senator Randolph Bracy has introduced legislation that would incentivize good behavior and rehabilitation in Florida’s prisons by adjusting the “gain time” for first time nonviolent offenders, allowing some people to earn more than 15 percent off of their prison sentence. Bracy spoke about House Bill 189 Tuesday during a press conference with House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee and Representative Dianne Hart.
 
The bill allows incarcerated people to utilize earned gain time through good behavior and participation in educational and rehabilitative programs to reduce their time in prison to 65 percent of their original sentence. Under the current law, prisoners must serve 85 percent of their sentence, regardless of any rehabilitation efforts.  Florida spends $2.7 billion to incarcerate roughly 100,000 people each year.
 
The following is a statement from Scott McCoy, senior policy counsel for the SPLC Action Fund:
 
Giving people a chance to earn “gain time when they engage in rehabilitative programs without an artificial cap is common sense criminal justice reform. Most who are locked up eventually return home to their communities, and we need to incentivize good behavior and get people ready to live a life outside of prison. This bill is not perfect, there’s no reason why it can’t apply to people who commit violent crimes as well, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
 
The following is a statement from Micah Kubic, ACLU of Florida executive director:
 
“For too long our criminal justice system has disincentivized good behavior and rehabilitation, leading to fewer people gaining the skills necessary to be successful once they return to their communities. The longer an individual is incarcerated and separated from their family and communities, the harder it is to successfully reintegrate in society. This puts public safety at risk and does not make our communities safer. We hope that important reforms like HB189, and those that extend to all individuals who are currently incarcerated, will be considered this session.”
 
The following is a statement from Denise Rock, executive director of Florida Cares Charity Corp., dedicated to improving the lives of the incarcerated:
 
“According to the Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, victims of violent crime widely support reducing incarceration to invest in prevention and rehabilitation. Further, every year since 2015, research reports have recommended increasing gain time incentives, including the 2019 fiscal analysis which showed that a 65 percent gain time bill would have the greatest tax savings of any bill presented. Knowing all of this, reforming the gain time to 65 percent not only makes sense, it would show Floridians that legislators are listening.”
 
The following is a statement from Neil Volz, Deputy Director, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition:
 
“Florida's returning citizens and directly impacted families support these types of reforms because they will change people's lives and create safer communities. We look forward to working with policy makers to implement reforms that expand gain time to as many of our incarcerated friends and neighbors as possible."
 
For a full list of organizations involved in the Florida Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform, go to https://www.betterjusticefl.com/.

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