Florida’s state corrections department has increased its spending upwards of 60% in the last ten years. As a result, taxpayers are wondering why prison costs are rising while crime rates are plummeting.
To cut spending, a new bill proposes measures that will reduce sentencing for certain drug crimes committed in Florida.
Senate Bill 346 proposes lighter sentences for first time offenders
According to The Center Square, SB 346 shies away from the concept of minimum or maximum sentences. Under the bill, people who are nonviolent offenders convicted of selling or possessing less than two grams of a controlled substance cannot receive sentencing of more than 12 months in jail if it is their first drug possession offense. There is an exception, however, for people found with fentanyl to serve more jail time. The bill allows for judicial discretion when it comes to certain drug crimes.
How this bill affects taxpayers
SB 346 is being referred to as the right thing to do for not only defendants but also taxpayers. The measure has the potential to save the state an estimated $50 million. A large part of this has to do with reducing the prison population in the state of Florida from 96,000 down to 4,800. Currently, Florida has the third largest penitentiary population in the country.
People who find themselves arrested and charged with a drug crime may benefit from seeking out an experienced criminal defense lawyer. This may help shed some light on the ever-changing landscape of the law and how it applies to their situation specifically.