TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (By The News Service of Florida) – A new poll shows a majority of Floridians feel criminal justice reform is important, and the state needs to look at better ways to work with felons, while keeping fewer non-violent offenders housed in prison.
The poll, released this week by the James Madison Institute, an economic think tank, surveyed roughly 1,500 people on the issue.
Seventy-five percent of respondents feel the state is spending too much money on prison budgets, and nearly two thirds of those surveyed think there are too many non-violent offenders behind bars. Additionally, Floridians believe ex-cons should have better job training opportunities while in prison, in order to make it easier to re-join society once their sentences are complete.
Sal Nuzzo is the Vice President of Policy at JMI. He says lawmakers are starting to understand that you can be tough on crime, while also working with the majority of inmates who will eventually re-enter society.
“More and more, public perception is that non-violent offenders should be treated differently, and shouldn’t be incarcerated at the rates that we are seeing in the state of Florida.
Nuzzo says inmates who do not have a path to employment when they leave prison, often end up using more government services or end up right back in jail, which costs the state even more money.
The survey also shows Floridians see a need for reform in the state’s juvenile justice system.