As I look back on this legislative initiative, it strikes me as absolutely predictable. You only have to look at the topic which was early release of non-violent felons and you can tell who is going to take what side.
This was nothing more than ‘test the water legislation’ to see if it worked and would involve about 400 or so non-violent inmates. The screening process involved both the Department of Corrections as well as the local community. It would have laid a basic building block for development of a knowledge base to expand the program so that non-violent men and women could have a shot at a meaningful life as well as the state saving money and the public safety being improved.
The core problem is that crime is down and there are some 12,000 empty beds in the system. They are starting to close prisons and the law enforcement community is losing its justification for bloated payrolls. The criminal justice community is a strong lobby and Gov. Scott is a politician looking to the next election.