Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Florida Is Number One - In Prison Sentences

Another one of those damn studies:

From the press relase:

TALLAHASSEE — Thanks to its gung-ho approach to lengthening jail time, Florida led the charge in beefing up prison sentences during the past two decades at a taxpayer cost of more than $1 billion a year, according to a new study by the Pew Center on the States.


What else does it say?

In 2009 prisoners served an average of nine more months in custody — 36 percent longer — than offenders released in 1990.

Incarceration rates are the highest in the Southeast.

And...

The Sunshine State led the nation in lengthening prison sentences under both Democratic and Republican governors.

Drug-related sentences climbed 194 percent during the study period, from 0.8 years on average to 2.3 years. Sentences for violent crimes grew 137 percent, from 2.1 years to 5 years. Sentences for property crimes such as burglary, breaking and entering, and vehicle theft grew 181 percent, from 0.9 years to 2.7 years on average.

As a result, the average prison time served grew by 166 percent and cost taxpayers $1.4 billion in 2009. The 36,678 Florida prisoners released in 2009 served an average of 22 months longer and cost taxpayers $38,477 more per prisoner than those released in 1990, the study determined.


More conservative states around us have taken note of the cost:

Indeed, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal last month signed a reform reducing jail time for nonviolent criminals that is expected to save the state $264 million over five years. And Louisiana passed legislation that expands parole eligibility for repeat offenders and nonviolent ones serving life sentences; expands the state's re-entry courts; and allows courts to waive mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders.

We were going to do something - reduce prison time for non-violent drug offenders who entered substance abuse programs.

But Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the legislation, saying Florida's tough sentences had reduced crime rates and that "justice … is not served when a criminal is permitted to be released early from a sentence imposed by the courts."

Governor Scott said this legislation was insensitive to victims.

Victims of non-violent drug offenders. I'd like to talk to some of them, whoever they are.

At least the beaches are nice.

Non-anonymous comments welcome. Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Share/Save/Bookmark okdork.com rules Post to Twitter