The Florida Senate Committee on Criminal Justice approved Senate Bill 1032 on March 2nd. It would incentivize participation in educational and vocational training, and rehabilitation in Florida’s prisons by allowing individuals to earn additional time off of their sentence for engaging in productive and constructive activities and turning their lives around in prison.
Florida spends $2.7 billion to incarcerate roughly 96,000 people in prison each year. Increasing rehabilitation credits is estimated to save the state $860 million over the next five years and evidence-based research has shown that increasing rehabilitation in prisons makes our communities safer and reduces recidivism.
“Giving people a chance to earn time off when they engage in rehabilitative or educational programs without an artificial cap is common sense criminal justice reform,” said Carrie Boyd, policy counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund. “We need to incentivize rehabilitation and get people ready to live a life outside of prison. If someone gets out without taking part in educational and rehabilitative programs and mental health counseling, their likelihood of reoffending will be much higher. We hope the full House and Senate get behind this legislation, which is sponsored by Sen. Keith Perry, a Republican senator.”
“We need to incentivize rehabilitation and get people ready to live a life outside of prison.”
Carrie Boyd, Southern Poverty Law Center
Several organizations work together through the Florida Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform to support efforts to increase educational and vocational training to help those in prison towards rehabilitation and experience success when they are released.
Kara Gross, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida legislative director and senior policy counsel commented, “Incentivizing rehabilitation in prisons is a win-win solution to our devastating prison and budget crisis. Expanding rehabilitation credits will increase public safety, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayer dollars. This one reform is estimated to save the state close to 1 billion dollars and will help ensure that incarcerated individuals have the tools they need to successfully reintegrate into their communities. When incarcerated individuals participate in educational and vocational training and other productive activities, everyone benefits. In order to safely address our prison and budget crisis, we need more rehabilitation in prisons, not more taxpayer dollars spent on prisons.”
For a full list of organizations involved in the Florida Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform, go to betterjusticefl.com.
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