Monday, November 20, 2017
Politics

Pew: Florida leads U.S. in inmates released without supervision

RECOMMENDED READING


TALLAHASSEE — Florida leads the nation in inmates who are released from prison with no supervision or support, a new study concludes.

The Pew Charitable Trusts conducted a state-by-state analysis of so-called "max-outs," or the number of inmates who serve their full sentences and are released to the community with no monitoring programs in place. A large number of those inmates commit new crimes, resulting in more victims, and are sent back to prison at enormous costs to taxpayers.

"Get ready for a whole lot more of this," said Allison DeFoor, chairman of The Project on Accountable Justice at Florida State University and an advocate for greater scrutiny of how states run their prison systems.

DeFoor said that for too long, the criminal justice system has evaded the same kind of results-oriented accountability that education and health care must now provide.

"It's too big to rock along without accountability," DeFoor said.

He noted that one of every seven state employees works in the Department of Corrections.

The agency said its recidivism rate is declining, but it was 27.6 percent for 2008, the latest year available. That means more than one of every four inmates freed from prison is back behind bars within three years.

The Pew report spans the period from 1990 to 2012, so it dates to the years when Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, set criminal justice policy with a Democratic Legislature.

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 the same 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.

Since passage of the law known as STOP for Stop Turning Out Prisoners, max-outs in Florida have risen sharply, Pew found.

The STOP law's legislative champion was then-Republican Sen. Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg, now a leading Democratic candidate for governor. Crist's biography on a state cultural affairs website noted that he was named an honorary sheriff by the Florida Sheriffs Association for sponsoring the bill.

To reverse the trend, 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 with no supervision, or 32 percent of offenders released that year, Pew's report said. 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 nonviolent 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 to ease their re-entry into society.

Contact Steve Bousquet at [email protected]

Comments
2nd woman accuses Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching

2nd woman accuses Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A second woman has accused Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching.Lindsay Menz tells CNN that Franken placed his hand on her bottom as they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010, two years into Fran...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Before budget ax fell, Visit Florida executives ran up hefty travel bills

Before budget ax fell, Visit Florida executives ran up hefty travel bills

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott’s tourism chiefs at Visit Florida spend a lot of public money taking trips to exotic places to promote Florida as a top worldwide destination.Four former top-level staff members at the state’s tourism promotion and its c...
Published: 11/20/17
As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said Sunday that the White House is willing to remove a contentious provision taking aim at the Affordable Care Act from the GOP tax overhaul plan if politically necessary, a move ...
Published: 11/19/17

Many Christian conservatives are backing Alabama’s Roy Moore

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama’s Christian conservatives see Roy Moore as their champion. He has battled federal judges and castigated liberals, big government, gun control, Muslims, homosexuality and anything else that doesn’t fit the evangelical mold. ...
Published: 11/19/17
Senate ethics, relatively silent, could face busy year

Senate ethics, relatively silent, could face busy year

WASHINGTON — It’s been nearly six years since the Senate Ethics Committee conducted a major investigation of a sitting senator. Next year, the panel could be working nonstop, deciding the fate of up to three lawmakers, including two facing allegation...
Published: 11/18/17
Hillsborough seeks payback for ethics complaint but history shows that could be pricey

Hillsborough seeks payback for ethics complaint but history shows that could be pricey

TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners recently decided to go after the pocketbooks of several residents who filed unsuccessful ethics complaints against one of their colleagues.If history is any indicator, the maneuver is more likely to cost taxp...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/19/17
In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

UTICA, N.Y.Pat Marino pulled into the shop on a cold, wet Thursday and stood close as a young mechanic with gelled-up hair and earrings lifted the truck and ducked underneath."You need a little bit more oil," the mechanic said."Five quarts wasn’t eno...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17
As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

WASHINGTON — "You can do anything," Donald Trump once boasted, speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women. Maybe he could, but not everyone can. The man who openly bragged about grabbing women’s private parts — but denied he really did so — w...
Published: 11/17/17
Allegations against Alabama’s Roy Moore dividing GOP women

Allegations against Alabama’s Roy Moore dividing GOP women

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Standing on the white marble steps of Alabama’s Capitol, Kayla Moore surrounded herself with two dozen other women Friday to defend husband Roy Moore against accusations of sexual misconduct that are dividing Republicans, and women...
Published: 11/17/17
Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

WASHINGTON — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken personally apologized to the woman who has accused him of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour, saying he remembers their encounter differently but is "ashamed that my actions ruined that ...
Published: 11/17/17