Coalition of Criminal Justice Reform Advocates Applaud Representative Byron Donalds for Filing HB 705, the Florida First Step Act | FAMM

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Coalition of Criminal Justice Reform Advocates Applaud Representative Byron Donalds for Filing HB 705, the Florida First Step Act

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Coalition of Criminal Justice Reform Advocates Applaud Representative Byron Donalds for Filing HB 705, the Florida First Step Act

Right on Crime, FAMM, Americans for Prosperity-Florida & JMI Praise Action

Tallahassee, Fla. – A coalition of criminal justice reform advocates, including Right on Crime, FAMM, Americans for Prosperity-Florida (AFP-FL) and the James Madison Institute (JMI), today applauded State Representative Byron Donalds (R-Naples) for filing House Bill 705, also known as the Florida First Step Act.  State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) has filed the companion bill, Senate Bill 642, in the Florida Senate.

“Right on Crime is thrilled Florida lawmakers will have the opportunity this session to enact historic criminal sentencing reform that is based on the groundbreaking, bipartisan legislation adopted by Congress, the First Step Act,” said Chelsea Murphy, Right on Crime’s Florida state director.  “Florida is more than ready to be a leader in criminal justice reform.  With a large prison population that is only expected to grow, the Florida First Step Act could reduce that population, while also improving public safety, restoring families and delivering major savings to Florida taxpayers.”

“The Florida First Step Act is a win for public safety, taxpayers and those who have earned a second chance,” said Skylar Zander, AFP-FL’s state director.  “This legislation helps ensure individuals are treated with dignity and are better prepared to rejoin their communities once they’ve served their time. The Florida First Step Act is solidly measured criminal justice reform that will make Florida a safer and stronger place to live.”

Principles of the Florida First Step Act include:

  • Focusing scarce prison resources on dangerous offenders who pose serious threats to public safety;
  • Strengthening alternatives to incarceration for low-risk offenders, such as utilizing mental health and drug courts;
  • Reducing recidivism by creating incentives for education and vocational training; and
  • Expanding employment opportunities during post-release transition by reducing unnecessary burdens and collateral consequences of incarceration.

“The Florida First Step Act is a moral imperative. We often hear from families whose loved ones in prison have truly reformed themselves and deserve a second chance,” said Greg Newburn, director of state policy at FAMM.  “This critical legislation will help those who are incarcerated become productive members of society and maintain appropriate punishments for dangerous offenders.”

“With the passage of the First Step Act by Congress and enactment by President Trump, Florida becomes ground zero for state-based reform,” said Sal Nuzzo, vice president of policy at JMI.  “Florida can show bold leadership and be the first state in the nation to pass criminal justice reform that advances public safety, saves taxpayer dollars and adheres to the principles set forth in the federal First Step Act.”

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