Florida - The Leading "Prison State" - Long Sentences For Non-Violent Offenders

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Florida - The Leading "Prison State" - Long Sentences For Non-Violent Offenders Empty Florida - The Leading "Prison State" - Long Sentences For Non-Violent Offenders

Post by 1911guy on Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:05 am

35-State Study: Florida Led In Increasing Prison Time

Don't live in the Dark Blue States!
Florida - The Leading "Prison State" - Long Sentences For Non-Violent Offenders Timeservedpew395x300

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida led 35 states in a study issued
Wednesday with a whopping 166 percent increase in the estimated average
time that released prisoners spent behind bars over a 19-year span.

The study by the Pew Center on the States concluded Florida spent an
extra $1.4 billion on prisons in 2009 alone because of the longer
average release time, much of it for nonviolent inmates.

“Violent and career criminals belong behind bars, and for a long
time, but building more prisons to house lower-risk, nonviolent inmates
for longer sentences simply is not the best way to reduce crime,” Pew
project director Adam Gelb said in a statement.

The study says one key factor in lengthening Florida’s prison stays
was a 1995 law that requires inmates to serve at least 85 percent of
their sentences before they can be released.

Another was tougher penalties across the board. That includes
Florida’s 10-20-Life law that sets minimum mandatory sentences for
crimes committed with firearms.

A third factor has been judges’ decisions to sentence criminals who
commit relatively minor felonies to a year and a day as a way to save
money for cash-strapped county governments. That’s because inmates
sentenced to a year or less serve their terms in county jails. Those
with longer sentences, even just a day longer, go to state prison.

A companion Pew analysis based on 2004 data found some nonviolent
prisoners could have been released up to two years earlier with little
or no effect on public safety. Florida could have reduced its prison
population by 2,640 inmates and saved $54 million that year with shorter
terms for nonviolent offenders.

The Florida Legislature this year passed a bill that would have
allowed judges to reduce sentences for a limited number of nonviolent
inmates who serve at least half of their terms and go through
rehabilitation programs, but Gov. Rick Scott vetoed it. Scott said the
measure would have been an injustice to victims and violated the 85
percent requirement.

The bill was part of a national movement to reduce sentences for
relatively minor crimes called “Right on Crime” that’s being pushed by
such conservative stalwarts as anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist and
former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who championed the 10-20-Life law.

The Legislature, though, rejected other bills that would have reduced
lengthy minimum mandatory sentences for possession of relatively small
amounts of controlled substances.

Florida was the only state of 35 included in the study that more than
doubled prisoners’ time served from 1990 through 2009. Virginia was
second with a 91 percent increase. For all of the 35 states, the
increase was 36 percent. The study, though, only included prisoners who
had been released each year. Overall sentences including inmates still
in prison would be longer.

During the study period, Florida’s average time served for released
felons went from 1.1 years to three years. Although its percentage
increase was the greatest, Florida’s 2009 time served estimate was only
slightly above the 2.9-year average for all the states.

Ten states had higher averages led by Michigan’s 4.3 years. That’s
because Florida had the shortest time served among the 35 states in

Florida’s prisons then were overcrowded due mainly to an increase in
drug convictions and the state was under a federal court order capping
their capacity. The state adopted generous early release policies to
stay in compliance. That ended in the mid-1990s with the so-called
“truth in sentencing” law that required inmates to serve 85 percent of
their terms.

The report says the law was a response outrage over crimes committed
by felons who had been released after serving less than half of their
sentences including the murders of two Miami police officers.

The 10-20-Life bill was among the toughest of a series of laws that increased sentences.

Florida, though, got even tougher on nonviolent criminals. The Pew
study estimates Florida’s average time served for violent crime
increased from 2.1 to five years, or 137 percent, from 1990 through
2009. But it increased from 0.9 to 2.7 years, or 181 percent, for
property crimes and from 0.8 to 2.3 years, or 194 percent, for drug

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Florida - The Leading "Prison State" - Long Sentences For Non-Violent Offenders Empty Florida - NOT Where You Want To Live!

Post by C Anderson on Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:55 am

First, allow me to clarify that I was born and raised in Florida. Specifically, the beachside. This state has been on a sharp decline since my childhood, helped along by Northerners who imported the horrible, jaded, rude attitude that defines Florida today.

Every day starts with my commute to work. I am lucky I have a job, seeing as there aren't many here. Sure, you can get a job at one of the theme parks making $7.25 an hour, but most people like to eat and pay rent. My commute involves navigating a series of clogged backsides before hitting the I-4 parking lot. There are accidents every morning, and every yokel has to stop and gawk at it. I plan 90 minutes to get to work each day. I live 31 miles away. Seriously. The roads have not kept up with the fact that every New Yorker, Canadian, and retiree has moved here.

Yes, lucky to have a job. Except, of course, this is a right-to-work state, meaning I could be fired at any moment without a reason. It's good to feel valuable. Thanks, Florida!

Another thing I can thank Florida for is my subpar education. Americans are getting dumber by the year, and Florida consistently ranks at the bottom of every education list. If you graduate from a Florida public school, you'll either be able to read or do math. Both are never achieved successfully. I can barely work an algebraic equation which rendered me to numerous remedial classes in college (a very common problem), yet they gave me a high school diploma and kicked me out into the real world. My education was a joke. I was never diagnosed with ADHD in school and had issues that were never addressed. In fact, I barely did homework and spend 50% of class doodling and 50% daydreaming. It's nearly impossible to have an intellectual conversation here because locals are absolutely incapable of critical thinking. I graduated with above a 3.0 GPA. In Florida, I could have become a doctor.

On that note, many flunkees of life do practice medicine here. Our healthcare is a joke. In Orlando, I had to see four different gynecologists to get a common female problem diagnosed. Doctors who have been kicked out of New York regularly practice medicine in Florida. We also have a slew of "pain clinics" that are painkiller dispensaries. One of these babies in your neighborhood, along with the onslaught of people dealing on your lawn, will surely kill your property value.

The cost of living here is not great. People say it is, but these idiots are from New York. $700 for a 1-bedroom apartment in a neighborhood with drive-by shootings is not spectacular when the average person makes about $12 an hour. The pay here us garbage. Thank you, Disney. I hold a degree and the jobs I see want to pay me $9-$10 an hour, which is insulting. Gas is often higher in price than most states and we definitely pay more for fruits and vegetables.

Now that I've trashed Florida as a whole, let me sum up Orlando:
-Angriest City In America 2006
-#9 Rudest City in America 2011
-#3 Most Violent Crimes 2011
-Traffic congestion so bad, your car will become a vessel for primal screaming
-Extremely high number of uninsured drivers
-We have one of the highest populations of registered sex offenders in the country
-Turn on "Nancy Grace." I guarantee that murdered child case happened here
-Everybody is aloof. Southern grace and charm has long been replaced by Northern apathy
-There are NO jobs. What you'll find is low in pay. Anybody who moves here for work is a fool
-There used to be a defined Orlando ghetto. It has spread outward. Now it encompasses most of Orlando
-If you live in an apartment complex as a single woman, you will be frightened
-Orlando hates the homeless. It is illegal to feed them. Yes, you can go to jail for giving a bum at Big Mac. Guess what they do now? They bombard you for CASH when you go downtown. Good luck getting from your car to destination on food without bring solicited at least 3 times
-The weather. If you like being hot and sweaty (and some people do) then this will be Heaven. If you like mild and sunny, we get that for about a month. Every day from April-October is when it pours rain every afternoon. Thunderstorms with lightening are normal
-Because of the lovely weather, it's harder to get insurance on your home. My parents were dropped after 25 years and had to find another provider. It was a difficult process.

Orlando sucks. I hate this place with a passion. As a young woman, I'm desperate to leave so I don't end up settling here and raising idiotic children. Coming here would be a poor decision on anybody's behalf.
C Anderson
C Anderson

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Post by Consumer Alert on Sun May 26, 2013 8:55 am

Florida’s School-to-Prison Pipeline Is Largest in the Nation

(REPOST) Original Story by Julianne Hing

Tuesday, February 12 2013It used to be that getting in a schoolyard fight meant a trip to the
principal’s office—detention, maybe. But in Florida, more than any other
state, that schoolyard fight can lead to the student’s arrest and even
felony charges. Last year 12,000 students were arrested 13,870 times in
Florida public schools, the Orlando Sentinel
reported. .

The majority of the arrests, 67 percent, were for infractions like
fist fights, dress-code violations, and talking back—schoolyard
misbehavior that, in Florida and elsewhere, increasngly results in
misdemeanor criminal charges. “The vast majority of children being
arrested in schools are not committing criminal acts,” Wansley Walters,
secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, told the Orlando Sentinel.

While Florida is not alone
in turning to police to discipline young people, it has the distinction
of being the nation’s leader in school-based arrests. Last year,
Florida produced the highest documented number of school-based arrests
in the country—and that number was an improvement over previous
years. In 2005, Florida made 28,000 arrests in school. It has logged a
39 percent drop in school arrests over the last seven years, according
to the Department of Juvenile Justice. (PDF)

In most cases, 69 percent, the juvenile justice system ultimately
dismisses or otherwise diverts the charges. But experts say getting
hauled away from school in handcuffs nonetheless has a lifelong impact.

David Utter, director of the Florida Youth Initiative at the Southern
Poverty Law Center, notes that getting arrested is, at a basic
psychological level, a “highly traumatic” experience for young people.
It can precipitate the breakdown in trust between young people and the
adults in their lives, making what should be a welcoming and nurturing
environment a hostile place.

The arrests also carry more measurable costs. Even when the arrest
doesn’t go anywhere because, say, the state chooses to drop the case, a
child is forever forced to answer affirmatively when asked on job and
other applications whether they’ve ever been arrested. Statutes allow a
child to have his or her record expunged, but expungement is not
automatic, said Utter, and the state still holds onto personal data
about a child. “It’s pretty damn permanent,” Utter said.

Convictions are even more damaging. Convicted felons are not allowed
to vote in Florida, and are barred from accessing certain benefits like
housing or higher education grants, said Alana Greer, a staff attorney
at the Advancement Project.

School-based arrests are a byproduct of the growing role of police in
schools, a trend that’s developed alongside the rise of so-called
“zero-tolerance” school discipline policies since the 1980s. The
policies, using language borrowed from the war on drugs, demand swift
and harsh punishments as a response to disciplinary infractions. Many
observers worry that as school-based shootings shock the country,
schools will see a further escalation of zero-tolerance policies and a
concordant influx of police
in schools. Last month, President Obama unveiled a multi-pronged plan
to prevent future school-based shootings. As part of his school security
plan, Obama called for more therapists, social workers, counselors—and
police officers.

Those police officers, who are not trained in adolescent development,
are increasingly being called on to fill a role that school counselors,
teachers and other adults used to fill, said Greer. “Disciplinarians
are so overwhelmed so much of the time, and there’s someone down the
hall who can make the situation go away,” Greer said, “But that person
happens to have a badge, a gun and handcuffs.”

“We’ve lost sight of common-sense discipline,” she said.

Florida is not alone in its zealous use of arrests as a disciplinary
response, or in its racially disparate application of school-based
arrests. More than 68 percent of youth go to U.S. schools with a police
officer assigned to their campus. When police officers are around, what
they tend to do is arrest kids, juvenile justice advocates have
lamented. Late last year the Department of Justice sued Meridian, Miss.,
for running a school-to-prison pipeline which ushered a
disproportionate number of black students out of school and straight
into the waiting arms of the juvenile justice system.

But more police don’t necessarily improve school climates. The
American Psychological Association’s sweeping 2006 review found that
zero-tolerance policies aren’t effective tools for discouraging
misbehavior. Nor do they make schools safer. “While the intentions of
putting those police officers in schools is good, they come with an
extraordinary number of unintended consequences,” said Lara Herscovitch,
a senior policy analyst with the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance.

In Florida, where Walters’ Department of Juvenile Justice has
committed to reducing the rate of school-based arrests by 10 percent
this year, the situation is still urgent. Even with recent improvements,
the percent of those arrested for petty misdemeanors “hasn’t budged,”
Utter said. “While it’s a good thing that fewer children are being
arrested, we’re still arresting kids for utter bullshit.”

Groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Advancement
Project, along with local affiliates like the Florida NAACP in Broward
County are working with educators, law enforcement and school
administrators to address the arresting spree.

But for all the recent improvements, the post-Newtown talk of ramping
up school security via more police has advocates on watch. Herscovitch
says that especially in this post-Newtown climate, when the impulse is
to send even more police officers to schools, juvenile justice and
school safety advocates “are working very hard to make sure that the
response to Newtown doesn’t create another 10 to 20 years of
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