A new proposal announced Tuesday—dubbed “Smart Justice”—would change the way Florida deals with non-violent drug offenders.
The bill seeks to reduce recidivism by redirecting some non-violent offenders from high-security prison into re-entry and drug treatment programs.
“It’s time that we change the way we’re doing business,” said Sen. Thad Altman, R-Viera, who is co-sponsoring the measure. “We’re in the modern days, the 21st century. But in many ways our criminal justice system is still in the Middle Ages.”
Inmates in the last three years of their sentences would be potentially eligible for the program. New “Correctional Re-entry Treatment Facilities” would be created—and run by private providers—to take in the non-violent offenders.
Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican who chairs the House’s Judiciary Committee, is also sponsoring the measure. He said it would help reduce recidivism in Florida’s prison system.
“The ideas contained in this legislation will make a meaningful difference,” Baxley said in a statement. “Not just in the lives of offenders, but more importantly in the lives of Floridians who might otherwise become their future crime victims.”