Now that the lead has come from the top, everyone has the relative safety to express and support changes to the system. It has been overloaded and the prison and prison related budget lines are out of control.
“Our prison population has more than doubled in the past 20 years and, even allowing for the size of the state, we are still near the top of the heap in prisoners per capita…….
If we are talking strictly about the housing of criminals, Florida’s Department of Corrections will spend about $2.4 billion this year. And roughly 25 percent of the prisoners in Florida were convicted of drug offenses.
What’s worse is those drug convictions are leading to longer and longer sentences. The average prison stay for a drug offense in Florida was 10 months in 1990, according to Pew Center research. Today, the average stay is 28 months…..When you are in our custody and control, we need to provide you the necessary services so that you have a fighting chance when you leave prison. I don’t mind paying for someone in prison, but what galls me is paying for their second or third prison term.”