Criminal justice reform coalition takes case to lawmakers
While Florida’s population has tripled since 1970, the state’s prison population has grown by 1,000 percent. A new coalition of groups is lobbying the legislature to do something about that discrepancy.
The Florida Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform launched on Monday, one day ahead of the state’s annual legislative session. In a statement, the group said it’s focusing on rolling back decades of failed “tough-on-crime” policies that have contributed to the explosion in the number of inmates.
“Large prison populations are not an appropriate barometer for effective criminal justice,” said Christian Camara, Southeast regional director of the Washington, D.C.-based R Street Institute, a coalition member.
“Instead, they are oftentimes a symptom of a broken system that imposes a huge burden on taxpayers. Florida should focus on reducing recidivism by prioritizing criminal justice spending to help rehabilitate and restore offenders’ lives while reserving tough penalties against violent criminals,” Camara said.
Florida’s state prison system houses nearly 100,000 inmates at a cost of $2.3 billion annually.