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Senate approves compensation for wrongfully incarcerated

The Florida Senate overwhelmingly agreed to create a process for compensating former inmates who have been wrongfully incarcerated.

Wednesday, senators voted 37-1 in favor of the proposal sponsored by Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat. Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Parkland voted against the bill.

The bill does exclude people with prior felony convictions, the so-called "clean hands provision." And according to Joyner, only two of the seven inmates who have been wrongfully incarcerated would be eligible under the provision. But Joyner called the bill a start, saying "it's our way to say we are sorry as persons of this state."

"This is not a political issue, but it is an issue of fundamental human rights and fairness," Joyner said. "We have an obligation as a legislature to compensate those who have been falsely accused, convicted and jailed."

Inmates with prior convictions would still go through the state's claims process. Earlier this session, the Legislature agreed to pay $1.25 million to Alan Crotzer, who was wrongfully incarcerated in the 1980s and spent 24 and a half years in prison for two rapes he did not commit.