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Prison and criminal justice reform on Peace & Justice Wednesday Dec 11 at 9am.

Written by on Sunday, December 8, 2019

This Wednesday we’ll have in the studio attorneys Adam Tebrugge and Tracy Pratt.

Adam will discuss the current prison situation in Florida and possible reforms to be considered in this legislative session, including minimum mandatory safety valves and the recording all interrogations. Other goals: release old and sick prisoners, allow inmates gain time for rehabilitation.

Tracy will discuss the local State Attorney’s race and the importance of prosecutors to criminal justice system. Almost all judges are appointed by one political party some judges aren’t doing their job. She’ll also discuss her organization Project 180 and the importance of reentry programs.

1.    Current population incarcerated in county jails across the state is approximately 56,000 – most of whom are awaiting trial. This number appears to be trending up.

2.    Current prison population is approximately 95,000

3.    More than 164,000 people are on community supervision like probation.

4.    So more than 400,000 people in Florida are presently incarcerated or on community supervision.

5.    Cost is approximately 2.5 billion a year and going up.

6.    About 25,000 of these prison inmates are over the age of 50, and 1,600 are over the age of 70, many oif these people are seriously ill or debilitated.

Important bills for this session:

SB 346 – Allows judges a “safety valve” for certain defendants so they do  not get a minimum mandatory sentence. Also requires that any interrogation be electronically recorded.

SB 572  — would allow the Department of Corrections to transfer certain prisoners at the end of their sentence to serve the remainder of their time under community supervision. This could result in a quick reduction of the prison population. 

SB 574  — eliminates some of the present hurdles to Compassionate Release of elderly or seriously ill inmates.

Our listeners should contact their local state representative: Tommy Gregory, Will Robinson, or Margaret Good and ask them to support these bills. The House of Representatives has been the biggest obstacle to reform.