Dear Speaker Corcoran:
We write to express our support for drug sentencing reforms currently being considered by the Florida legislature. We and our organizations represent concerned citizens, taxpayers, and people of faith who care deeply about using public safety resources efficiently and in a manner that reflects the dignity and value of human life.
In the last 15 years, more than 30 states around the country – Florida among them – have reconsidered the wisdom of disproportional mandatory minimum sentencing laws. These centralized, one-size-fits-all laws undermine individualized consideration in the American justice system. They also waste taxpayer dollars locking up for far too long some people who pose little to no threat to public safety. These excessive punishments fill prisons, are costly to taxpayers, and divert scarce resources away from investigating more serious crimes, supporting local law enforcement, and compensating victims. Disproportional mandatory minimum sentences also harm families and communities by depriving children of their parents for far longer than public safety demands.
Drug sentencing reform is designed to restore balance, proportionality, consistency, and flexibility to Florida’s drug sentencing laws, including tougher punishment on repeat drug dealers and major traffickers, and flexibility in sentencing for low-level drug crimes.
Florida’s neighbors and other conservative states have already adopted substantive drug sentencing reforms. Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Iowa have adopted meaningful reforms to their mandatory minimum drug laws in recent years. The result has been uniform: smaller prison populations, smaller corrections budgets, and lower crime. Florida’s families and taxpayers deserve the benefits of this proportional and restorative approach.
We hope you will approve of common sense sentencing reform. Thank you for considering our views, and for your leadership on the issues that affect the safety, dignity, and well-being of Floridians.
Director, Center for Criminal Justice Reform, American Conservative Union Foundation
Dr. Robert McClure III,
President, James Madison Institute
President and CEO, Florida TaxWatch
Senior Vice President, Advocacy & Public Policy, Prison Fellowship
Policy Director, Right on Crime; Texas Public Policy Foundation
Director of Criminal Justice Reform, Reason Foundation
Major Neill Franklin (Ret.)
Executive Director, Law Enforcement Action Partnership
Co-Chair, Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration
Senior Fellow, R Street Institute
Executive Director, Coalition for Public Safety
State Policy Director, Families Against Mandatory Minimums