Florida TaxWatch recently released its “Review of Criminal Justice Data,” a 44-page report that gives a broad, comprehensive look at some important data relating to Florida’s criminal justice system. While we recommend reading the entire report, a few statistics are of particular relevance to Florida FAMM members.
Specifically, Florida Taxwatch found that:
- Florida’s prison population has more than doubled since 1990, and nearly quadrupled since 1984.
- Floridians spend nearly $2.5 billion on Corrections annually.
- The average mandatory minimum sentence in Florida is more than ten years.
- Contrary to proponents of mandatory minimums that such sentences provide uniformity in sentencing, the incarceration rate for mandatory minimum drug offenses in Osceola County was more than four times the rate of Seminole and Miami-Dade Counties, and nearly four times the rate of Palm Beach County. Similar widespread disparities were f found all over the state.
And perhaps most startlingly:
- In Fiscal year 2011, Florida taxpayers spent $97.5 million incarcerating drug offenders serving mandatory minimum sentences.
- Of all drug offenders serving mandatory minimum sentences in Florida prisons, 75% had no prior prison record.
The entire report should be read and shared widely.