- Miami-Dade County State Attorney and Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg implemented diversion programs for first time DUI offenders. Meanwhile, Manatee County’s Smart Justice Months activities garnered national recognition for the third time in as many years. The National Association of Counties (NACo) recently awarded Manatee with a First Place Price (Suburban County Category) in the National County Government Month Award program. Manatee featured one month’s worth of public safety and wellness tips throughout April, Smart Justice Month, as part of the National Association of Counties’ annual County Government Month. Read more.
- The Florida Smart Justice Alliance, which includes Associated Industries of Florida and Florida TaxWatch, says it is seeking alternatives to incarceration that would be more effective and eventually cut some of the $2.1 billion a year price tag on the incarceration of approximately 100,000 inmates. The group has already started meeting with judges, sheriffs and others in the criminal justice pipeline. In October, CEO Stephen K. Talpins presented on Smart Justice and the South Dakota 24-7 Sobriety Program. The Alliance will present its findings during a Dec. 12-14 summit in Orlando. The summit’s goal to reach consensus on providing assistance in an institutional rehab program — a program that could be offered to the state Legislature.
- Senator Ellyn Senator Bogdanoff (S 448) and Representatives Porth and Pafford filed a bill (HB 177) that directs the Department of Corrections to develop and administer a reentry program for nonviolent offenders. The program, which would be designed to reduce recidivism and cut costs and include mandatory substance abuse and educational assessments, substance abuse treatment, educational opportunities and other rehabilitative programming. More information »
- Florida Tax Watch, a nonprofit government watch dog agency, has created a criminal justice committee that has identified ways to save the state money without diminishing public safety. Comprised of state cabinet members, former agency heads, legislators, business leaders, and academics, the committee has submitted 88 recommendations with the goal of saving the state $3 billion annually. Eleven of those recommendations specifically target reducing the state’s over reliance on prisons and expanding the use of electronic monitoring, post-adjudication drug courts, re-entry courts, and work release programs. Click here for the complete report.
- The Collins Center for Public Policy and the Coalition for Smart Justice held the Justice Summit 2009. During the conference, which served as a “call to action,” a diverse group of state and national leaders addressed reform of Florida’s justice system in a way to improve public safety, fiscal responsibility, and criminal justice effectiveness. Featured speakers included Senator Jim Webb (VA), Representative Jerry Madden (TX), and Adam Gelb, director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Public Safety Performance Project.
- The Florida Coalition for Smart Justice, a group comprised of several political, business, and social leaders, and the Collins Center, initiated an effort to explore better ways to achieve a safer, more just, and more effective criminal justice system by addressing offenders alcohol, drug, mental health, and employment issues.