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Prison reform group wants Dept. of Corrections to release budget documents

The group wants to know if the governor and legislators considered alternatives to slashing treatment and transition programs.
Pinellas and Miami-Dade counties lead the state in keeping youth offenders out of the school-to-prison cycle but, in many parts of the state, law enforcement continues to arrest kids eligible for diversion programs and that’s costing taxpayers.
Pinellas and Miami-Dade counties lead the state in keeping youth offenders out of the school-to-prison cycle but, in many parts of the state, law enforcement continues to arrest kids eligible for diversion programs and that’s costing taxpayers.
Published May 8, 2018|Updated May 8, 2018

A advocacy group representing a coalition pursuing prison and sentencing reform has filed a public records request with the Florida Department of Corrections in an effort to find out if other options were considered before the agency moved forward with a plan to cut $28 million from treatment and transition programs.

Read more: Legislature left $28 million hole in prison budget. Now essential programs are cut.

“There are a number of better alternatives to addressing FDOC’s budget shortfall than cutting critical programs that are proven to help incarcerated people transition from prison to healthy, productive lives and prevent them from reoffending,” wrote Shalini Goel Agarwal with the Florida Office of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a member of the Florida Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform in the records request. “For instance, dozens of other states have adopted bipartisan criminal justice reforms that are reducing prison populations, saving tax dollars and improving public safety,″

The group says the agency, “the Scott administration and legislators have turned a blind eye to Florida’s excessive incarceration policies, and the financial strain resulting from over-incarceration.”

The coalition suggests that Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers should have considered using rainy day funds “before announcing these misguided and dangerous budget cuts.”

Specifically, it is looking for access to:

Download FLCCJR DOC records request - FINAL 050818

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