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Push for leniency in drug sentencing is a tough sell in Florida

When U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that he was ordering prosecutors to stop charging lower-level drug offenders with “draconian minimum mandatory sentences,” he echoed the refrain from a bi-partisan coalition of activists who have tried and failed to get legislators to change the laws in Florida.

The cost of incarcerating a drug offender for a mandatory three-year prison sentence in Florida is estimated at $58,400, while the cost of treatment in a work release program is $19,130, according to an analysis by the Florida Office of Program and Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.

Meanwhile, Florida’s crime rate is at a 41-year low but the prison population continues to grow with non-violent, first-time offenders, most of whom are snared by undercover agents targeting them for trafficking in small quantities of prescription drugs, the analysis found.

The Florida Department of Corrections reports that taxpayers are spending an estimated $300 million a year to house people incarcerated for drug offenses.

Holder announced last Monday a major shift in federal sentencing policies, targeting long mandatory terms that he said have flooded the nation's prisons with low-level drug offenders and diverted crime-fighting dollars that could be far better spent.

If Holder's policies are implemented aggressively, they could mark one of the most significant changes in the way the federal criminal justice system handles drug cases since the government declared a war on drugs in the 1980s. More here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/18/v-fullstory/3569910/push-for-leniency-in-drug-sentencing.html#storylink=cpy


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Ed Jenkins

Releasing criminals before they have served their time sends a bad message and hurts the ability to deter future criminals. Prison costs are too high so we should cut the costs of running them by getting rid of TVs, entertainment stc. for criminals, throwing more of them into one cell and cutting out country club prisons, not by releasing criminals early.


I have never seen the inside of a prison but I don't think 'country club' is an accurate description of any Florida prison. From the statistics that I have seen about over crowding, isolation cells, gang violence, rape, mental illness, and drug abuse they sound like hell on earth. I don't like the idea of nearly $60,000 of my tax money spent sending some doper to that hell for 3 years and making him a career criminal besides.

Ann Pattee

Spoken like a person who has never been inside of a prison, not even to visit. We don't have country club prisons. IF they have a TV they have bought it or their family has. There is no other "entertainment." Our prisons are overcrowded now because of the get tough on drugs laws. No treatment for what brought them there but prison time where they can get more drugs then they can on the street if they have the money to get it.
I wish people would educate themselves about subjects before blindly commenting.

Ann Pattee

Thanks Redundant for speaking the truth on this matter. You are so right in all you said.

Jimmy John

The "prescription pill epidemic". Is a scam. Prescription pills have always been abused. Now that the "war on drugs" is increasingly being seen for what it is- a failure, the DEA needs a new boogie man to stay in existence. Enter prescription drugs.

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