Discretion on the Bench

Implementing a Judicial Safety Valve in Florida

Mandatory minimums and other stringent sanctions implemented during the 1980s and 1990s have led Florida prisons to incarcerate low-level offenders for unnecessarily lengthy sentences when many could be better served through alternative treatments and sanctions. This approach to sentencing results in the waste of valuable resources, at great expense to Florida taxpayers.

This report recommends the implementation of a “Judicial Safety Valve” that would give judges the discretion to deviate from mandatory minimums for low-level offenders, but maintain the rights of victims, offenders, their attorneys, and the state to have input on sentencing decisions at sentencing hearings. Judicial Safety Valves targeting varying populations of offenders implemented by federal and other state governments have improved offender outcomes and reduced strains on corrections systems and taxpayers at little or no risk to public safety.

Watch this short video about the report:

The Author

Elle Piloseno, Research Analyst. Elle is a Research Analyst at Florida TaxWatch, and was the first recipient of the Dr. Neil S. Crispo Fellowship at TaxWatch. She earned a Master’s degree in Criminology from Florida State University, and graduated from Tulane University with a B.S. in Psychology in 2012.

See Elle's full bio

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TEL: 850.222.5052     |     FAX: 850.222.7476

Media Inquiries:  Contact Leah Courtney by Email or Phone: 850.212.5052

Media Inquiries:
Contact Leah Courtney by Email
or Phone: 850.212.5052