Gerald Bates

“Regime Change in Florida Sorely Needed” By Gerald Bates

This article is related to my post of March 4th, April 11th and 17h of this year. The fact that Florida’s prison budget exceeds the revenue of it’s Citrus Crops and Tourism trade doesn’t seem to resonate on anyone but prisoners. The prison budget exceeds $2.3 billion annually. It’s twice what the State spends on it’s 28 public Colleges. Yet last year the Republican lead Legislature passed on at least 6 reform measures that would have significantly reduced the budget, prison population and reformed the justice system as a whole.
The Florida Republican is a different breed unlike the ones who lead the Governments in Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska and Utah. Those GOP lead States have all enacted criminal justice reforms projected to save the States nearly $2 billion over the next couple of years. Instead Florida’s passed a measure to allow prosecutors to “direct file” charging juveniles as adults.
As stated in earlier post, Florida’s incarceration rate is 24% higher than the National average. Florida houses the highest number of prisoners serving life with out parole in the country. Yet it’s crime rate remains 15% higher than the National average. The race to incarcerate to reduce crime isn’t working out for them.
The obvious reason for those margins, is the Republican led Legislatures failure to enact measures to address the exploding substance abuse epidemic in Florida. Drug possession is the number one aresst charge in Florida. Yet every measure to create treatment or diversion programs fail along with nearly all other possible reform efforts.
Instead Republican politicians line their campaign coffers with contributions from private prison profiteers, push for10/20/life, Habitual Offender and Truth in Sentencing, 85% Sentence service type enhancements to remain in effect.
Florida needs to seriously reconsider it’s position concerning parole. Nearly every single State that participated in the failed Clinton era “Truth in Sentencing” farce, demanding repeal of parole have reverted back to parole and other forms of early release programs, save for a few Republican led States, Florida and Virginia at least the forefront.
These self proclaimed conservative Republican politicians don’t recognize the downside to their stump rhetoric. Like when.someone like myself has his sentence enhanced from a probationary to 7 year sentencing recommendation, to life without parole, simply because I had previously uttered a bad check!!! Get out and vote for a.Democrat!!!

Gerald Bates
DOC #1425997

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