Procedural changes are in store for Florida’s criminal justice system. State lawmakers must address the escapes of several felons who used forged court documents to secure their release. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also reviewing its crime lab operations, after the recent arrest of a former chemist suspected of tampering with drug evidence in multiple cases.
As Governor Rick Scott continues to tout Florida’s lowered crime rate, some question why he’s putting more money into the criminal justice budget. It comes as the Florida Department of Corrections prepares for a projected increase in the state’s inmate population.
According to the latest Criminal Justice Estimating Conference, the state’s prison population is expected to soon rise, even though Florida is at a 42-year crime low.
A panel of Florida lawmakers moved several bills forward Wednesday attempting to address certain hot-button issues within the state’s criminal justice system from juvenile sentencing to unintended consequences of firing a warning shot. They also confirmed the appointment of Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews, who also gave Senators an update on the prison system.
DOC Secretary Talks Budget Deficit, Prison Health Care Privatization
Florida lawmakers are reconsidering a failed legislative effort last year aimed at reducing the chances of former inmates coming back into the state’s prison system. But, while most consider getting ex-inmates on the path to getting a job and a house a good thing, others say some parts of the bill need more work.