Criminal & Juvenile Justice

Responsible for more than $2 billion in annual costs to taxpayers, Florida's corrections system provides ample opportunities for reforms that will reduce costs and increase public safety. 

Related Research

Corrections in Context

01/2017 // To identify areas in need of improvement, this report is a longitudinal analysis of the state’s sentencing, incarceration, prisoner, and correctional budget histories. 

Discretion on the Bench

09/2016 // 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. 

Juvenile Pre-Arrest Diversion

08/2016 // This briefing explores Juvenile Pre-Arrest Diversion programs, which re-route certain juvenile offenders in ways that hold them accountable while sparing them from an arrest record and lessening the burden on taxpayers. 

Locked Up then Locked Out

07/2016 // To decrease recidivism and increase the return on state investment in corrections, offenders need to be able to find jobs and keep them; however, there are several barriers to this goal. This paper addresses some of these barriers and makes policy recommendations. 

Lower Costs & Less Crime

05/2016 // Florida can no longer rely on the outdated and inefficient policies of the past, and must begin to consider policies and practices that not only keep Floridians safe, but also address the two primary drivers of growth in the criminal justice system: overincarceration and recidivism. The recommendations detailed in this report, while by no means an exhaustive list of necessary improvements, aim to put Florida on the path to achieve these goals. 

Budget Watch - 2016-17 Legislative Budget Requests

10/2015 // Florida’s state government agencies have requested $77.835 billion in funding from the Legislature for FY2016-17, which is $1.2 billion (1.6 percent) more than these agencies are expected to spend in the current year. The total request is made up of $29.481 billion in general revenue (GR) and $48.354 billion in trust funds. The GR request is an increase of $854.5 million (3.0 percent). The latest revenue estimates forecast $31.653 billion in GR will be available for FY2016-17 meaning that the agency requests would leave GR reserves of $2 billion. 

A State of Incarceration: Florida's Crime and Incarceration Data Over Time

04/2015 // With Florida's crime rate at its lowest point in nearly five decades, this report recommends policy improvements to reduce cost and improve the efficacy of the criminal justice system. The data from the report show the contrast between Florida's falling crime rate and rising prison population. 

Budget Watch - House and Senate Proposed Budgets

03/2015 // A more than $4 billion dollar difference between the House and Senate budget proposals is detailed in this annual analysis of the initial budgets, which shows that the largest point of contention between the chambers is in funding the health and human services portion of the budget. 

Florida's Aging Prisoner Problem

10/2014 // Florida's prison population is rapidly increasing despite declining crime rates, and this report recommends options to prevent increasing costs from overwhelming taxpayers. The report warns that the steadily growing elderly prison population in state facilities will require more costly medical care, resulting in additional budget concerns for an already struggling Department of Corrections. 

Budget Watch - Legislation Affecting Florida Revenues

07/2014 // All the bills passed by the 2014 Legislature have now been evaluated by the state's revenue estimators, resulting in a revenue reduction of more than $550 in the current fiscal year. Local revenues will be reduced by $41.5 million and $37.0 million. Despite the declining revenue estimates, the reduction still leaves $1.65 billion in general revenue reserves for the fiscal year, according to the July Budget Watch. 

Budget Watch - FY2014-15 House and Senate Budget Comparison

04/2014 // This BudgetWatch report compares the FY2014-15 House and Senate budgets in each spending area, and shows the change versus the current fiscal year.  

Over-Criminalization in Florida

04/2014 // Florida could save significant corrections costs by reducing prison sentences for nonviolent offenders, according to data analysis in this report. The report calls for the state to review options to reduce the prison population through downgrading offenses and implementing alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent, level one and two offenders.  

When it Costs More to Pay Less

03/2014 // Florida's Assistant State Attorneys and Assistant Public Defenders are significantly undercompensated, as shown in findings from this research report. The new report analyzes Assistant State Attorney and Assistant Public Defender pay across each of Florida's judicial circuits and finds that their low pay contributes to high turnover rates, causing delays in judicial processing and increased taxpayer investment in new employee training, costing taxpayers more than $15 million annually. 

Sentencing for Oxycodone and Hydrocodone Offenses

01/2014 // This Briefing recommends that the state decriminalize the possession of minor amounts of oxycodone and hydrocodone, and lower mandatory minimums to save significant tax dollars, reduce prison populations, and help shift the focus to treatment for substance abuse problems. 

An Adult Civil Citation Program Can Save Taxpayer Dollars

01/2014 // This Briefing recommends that the state put in place the guidelines for an Adult Civil Citation program, patterned on the existing Juvenile Civil Citation program, which offers an alternative process to misdemeanor arrest for first-time nonviolent youth offenders.  

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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

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