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Florida sentencing system faulted in new Pew study

A nationwide study by Pew Charitable Trusts finds that Florida leads all states in so-called "max-outs," the number of prison inmates who serve their full sentences and are released to the community with no supervision or support. A high percentage of those inmates commit new crimes and are sent back behind bars at an enormous cost to taxpayers.

Pew's report spans a period of 1990 to 2012, so it dates to the years of a Democratic governor, Lawton Chiles. According to Pew's findings, max-out rates rose in 23 states during that period, and accounted for more than four of every 10 releases in nine states with Florida having the most.

Florida was followed by Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah. The fewest max-outs during that period were in Oregon, California, Arkansas, Wisconsin and New Hampshire.

As the study notes, Florida abolished parole in 1983 and imposed rigid sentencing guidelines, following passage of a 1995 law that required most inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. (The bill's legislative champion was then-Republican Sen. Charlie Crist, now a leading Democratic candidate for governor). Since passage of the so-called STOP law, or Stop Turning Out Prisoners, max-outs in Florida have risen sharply, Pew found.

Pew recommends some period of supervised release for all offenders, and tailoring supervision conditions to risk and need.

In 1990, Florida released about 12,000 inmates, or 32 percent of offenders released that year, with no supervision, the Pew report states. By 2012, the max-out rate had risen to 64 percent, resulting in more than 21,000 inmates leaving prison that year with no monitoring. Many are non-violent inmates who committed drug crimes.

For the first time, the Legislature this spring passed a bill that requires the Department of Corrections to provide every Florida-born inmate with a copy of a birth certificate and a state-issued ID card upon release. The prison system also must help those inmates get Social Security cards.


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ed jenkins

The citizens are pleased that these horrible people are doing the full amount of time and receiving the full punishment for their terrible crimes.


Faulted by requiring inmates serve the time they were sentenced to serve? Um, ok! Wooohoooo! High Five!

Only problem recently was when Chain Gang Charlie Crist got elected governor as a Jeb Bush Republican and one of his first acts as a Republican Governor was to overturn the restoration process for felons to get their rights back... thus weakening the sentencing these criminals received...

Now the Democrats will have to wonder what this flipflopper will say, but ultimately do (that is if he gets elected).

Mrs. Ed Jenkins

Apparently, you morons cannot READ. They are faulted for not providing supervised and monitored release (which leads to recidivism). Also, with the every-expanding length of sentences in Florida, the elimination of parole IS a problem. It's not the elimination of parole alone, but the fact that the sentences have increased astronomically, and really are not helping the public -- except with respect to extremely violent offenders. But we know that FL prisons are filled with drug users and petty criminals.

Also, I don't know why you think the GOP will make an issue of this. They want to incarcerate people for pot! Also, you are totally mistaken about the restoration of rights. Sentences are not weakened if people are given the right to vote after serving their time. The deprivation of the right to vote is not even part of the sentence. That's just one thing that makes it so hideous. God, conservatives are so stupid.

As for Ed - get a bigger vocabulary. "The citizens are...." is very worn out!


These individuals should be tracked for up to 12 months and be offered vocational rehab where avialable.

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