Since launching our Florida campaign in 2009, FAMM is focusing on reforming the mandatory minimum drug trafficking statute and is currently building a coalition of support with citizens, lawmakers, and other organizations that work in the state. Florida has one of the highest prison populations in the country and, like many other states, is facing reduced budgets because of the current recession. Support for smarter and more cost-effective sentences is growing in Florida, and FAMM plans to add to and build on that support. Contact Greg Newburn at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Read our Florida Profiles of Injustice:
Orville Lee Wollard
Erik K. Arthur
Read our Florida materials:
Florida's mandatory minimum laws (pdf)
Sample letter to Florida legislators (pdf)
The Facts About Mandatory Minimum Drug Laws in Florida (pdf)
The High Cost of Mandatory Minimums for Drug Crimes in Florida (pdf)
Advocating for Change: A Grassroots Guide to Influencing Lawmakers (pdf)
Florida Tax Watch Government Task Force Cost Savings Report
Collins Center for Public Policy Smart Justice report
OPPAGA Final Report on Drug Courts
FL Senate Committee on Criminal Justice: Issue Brief, A Policy Analysis of Minimum Mandatory Sentencing for Drug Traffickers
FL Senate Committee on Criminal Justice Issue Brief, Simple Purchase or Possession of Cocaine and Cannabis: Other States’ Sentencing Alternatives to Incarceration
The Sentencing Project's Factsheet on Florida Prisons
Florida Department of Corrections Resources:
Evidence Based Practices: Programs that Work in the Florida Department of Corrections
10-20-Life Criminals Sentenced to Florida’s Prisons
Time Served by Criminals Sentenced to Florida’s Prisons
Doing Time in Florida’s Prisons
Overview of Florida’s Sentencing Policies
Does the state have mandatory minimum sentences? Yes. Click here for a list of Florida state mandatory minimums.
Does the state have a sentencing commission? No. The Criminal Punishment Code, the sentencing guidelines system used for crimes committed after October 1, 1998, was written by the Florida Legislature and is codified at F.S. §§ 921.002-921.0027. The Florida Department of Corrections plays a significant role in developing sentencing guideline scoresheets (which are used to calculate sentences under the Code), monitoring how courts follow the Criminal Punishment Code, and submitting annual reports to the Legislature that detail and analyze sentencing trends.
Does the state have sentencing guidelines? Yes. Over the years, Florida has enacted several sentencing guideline systems:
- The current guidelines: known as the “Criminal Punishment Code,” created in 1998. For offenses committed before October 1, 1998, the previous guideline systems still apply. But for all offenses committed after October 1, 1998, the Criminal Punishment Code is the only set of guidelines that applies. The Code is codified at F.S. §§ 921.002-921.0027, and the sentencing worksheets and manual are available here.
- The 1995 Sentencing Guidelines: apply to all non-capital offenses committed between May 25, 1997, and September 30, 1998.
- The 1994 Sentencing Guidelines: apply to all non-capital felony offenses committed on or after January 1, 1994, and before October 1, 1995; eliminated basic gain time, committing Florida to a “truth in sentencing” approach.
- The 1983 Sentencing Guidelines: apply to all non-capital felony offenses committed on or after October 1, 1983, and before January 1, 1994; abolished parole for almost all offenses committed after October 1, 1983.
If yes, are the sentencing guidelines voluntary/advisory or mandatory? Mandatory. Departures from guidelines sentences are permitted for limited reasons listed in the Criminal Punishment Code.
Does the state have drug courts? Yes. It also has “drug offender probation” for chronic substance abusers. Click here to learn more about Florida’s drug court laws.
Does the state have one or more safety valve/exceptions? Yes, for habitual offender and prison releasee reoffender laws. Click here to learn more about Florida's safety valve laws. To learn more about safety valves, read our factsheet, Safety Valves in a Nutshell.
Governor Rick Scott
Florida Department of Corrections
Florida Parole Commission
Florida Executive Clemency Board (pardons and commutations)
Florida State Legislature
Florida Court System
Florida Drug Courts
Guide to communicating with Florida legislators
Want help finding a lawyer in this state? Click here or contact the local association of criminal defense lawyers. You can learn more about how to work with an attorney by reading our answers to frequently asked questions.
Want to search this state’s laws? Click here
Want to find out how a bill becomes a law in this state? Click here for Florida Senate version and here for Florida House version.
Want to find your state legislative representatives? Click here
Want to work on changing the laws in your state? Learn how through our Citizen Action Kit!
DISCLAIMER: FAMM does not endorse or support and is not affiliated with any of the attorneys, organizations, or sites listed on this page. FAMM cannot guarantee that the laws listed on its website or the content appearing on any of the links listed on this page are accurate or fully up-to-date. Laws change often, and before taking any action in reliance on the information presented on FAMM’s website or on the sites linked to on this page, you should always verify that the information is still accurate or talk with an attorney. If you feel you need legal advice, you should seek the help of an attorney in your state. FAMM cannot provide legal advice, representation, research, or referrals.