Two Florida lawmakers are already looking ahead to next year’s legislative session to revive a bipartisan effort to reform the state’s claims bill process. It allows those who sue a government agency over things like injuries or negligence to receive the rest of the money awarded to them—a process that can often take years.
A top priority of Florida’s Senate President is now ready for a floor vote. But after some political maneuvering, the bill also contains a controversial amendment targeting the state Supreme Court. The change could challenge lawmakers’ loyalties.
Advocates of criminal justice reform in Florida hope the state legislature will address some of their top priorities in the upcoming legislative session. But a big push for structural changes to reduce the prison population are difficult because of a limited amount of money, resources and political will.
The Florida Public Defender Association says making holistic changes to the state’s criminal justice system would make it more fair and save money. But some lawmakers seem to be focused just on juvenile justice reform.
Law enforcement from Baltimore, Ferguson and Sanford gathered in North Florida this week for a conference on community policing. Following the high profile killings in those cities, some departments are transforming their officer training.
Since the 1970s, the hard on crime ethos has fueled the era of mass incarceration. Simultaneously, the country defunded public mental health services. A ballooning criminal justice system came in to fill that vacuum. Now the Florida Legislature is poised to reform the way mental illness is handled in that system.
Under Florida law, people must be mentally competent before they stand trial. Now some state lawmakers are working on reforms for defendants who are incompetent. While a similar proposal was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott in 2013, this year the measure could get another chance.
Crime rates continue to fall across the country, while incarceration rates reach historic levels. A non-partisan panel came together Thursday to examine the relationship between incarceration and crime.
Though it likely won’t become law this session, lawmakers are considering a proposal which would change the way prosecutors decide whether to charge kids as adults. Its supporters say the state needs more rules to protect juveniles. But detractors say prosecutors need leeway to do their jobs – and may be doing it better year after year.
Tallahassee, FL – Forbes Magazine has ranked Tallahassee among the top ten as one of America's most dangerous cities to live in. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, Tallahassee's Police Chief rebukes the distinction.