Friday, January 30, 2009

A call for sentencing rationality in Florida

Sentencing Law and Policy has a snippet of a compelling Florida Bar Journal article this morning.

Here's what they cite:

Americans love to be number one. Unfortunately, we are now tops in two negative areas: debt and prisons....

[O]ur nation imprisons more people per capita than any other nation. Florida is leading this trend with the fastest growth of any state. A recent Pew Report noted that Florida “will run out of prison capacity by early 2009 and will need to add another 16,500 beds to keep pace.” With $65,000 per bed “as the best approximation for a typical medium security facility” and $19,308 per year for each Florida inmate, Florida must raise taxes, cut programs, or finance this $1.1 billion in initial capital costs plus an additional $314 million in annual recurring costs....

Our current approach to criminal justice sentencing is not only fiscally irresponsible — it is morally questionable. This approach will result in a continuing, chronic economic crisis.

It's a good point that I've mentioned before: if the obvious moral failings of the corrections system aren't enough to motivate serious reforms, then perhaps the deepening economic crisis in America will have legislators looking for human solutions to the problem. It's embarrassing that SentLaw called out Florida in particular, and the statistic that we lead the nation in prison population growth is a sin and a shame.

1 comment:

1American4Justice said...

There are us Inmate Advocates who have been telling this for years to everyone and anyone that will listen, but sometimes injustice is a bigger threat to real justice. I doubt if our Governor who of course is "arrest everyone", is going to knock down on any real reform of DOC. What the biggest problem is that so many are sentenced with short sentences get them out of County and into DOC, the budgets at war.The Parole Board needs to go, there are only 5000 inmates that even come under them, what do we need them for, they never parole anyone, but lets keep their jobs. We need to give back gain time for those "DR's" and get some of these folks out. The non-violent offenders make up 99% of the population in Prisons. You have to ask yourself what the hell are they doing there, at $65.00 a day of taxpayer money. They need to push more money into rehab facilities and education and maybe we won't see so many re-offenders.