Few in Florida would dispute that we have many inmates who are incarcerated. In fact, some readers may be surprised to learn just how many people are in our states penal system. Currently, a report notes, we have some 100,844 people in prison, many incarcerated for non-violent crimes such as drug possession and usage.
Drug possession, along with several other crimes, carry mandatory sentencing in Florida. Those convicted of drug crime makes up 17 percent of those who are in our state’s prisons. This comes at a financial cost to our state with each prisoner costing the system $17,973 per year to house and feed.
Some have proposed changes to the laws relating to sentencing for offenses such as drug possession here in our state. If successful, they may be able to offer judges more discretion in choosing if and for how long an accused person will be incarcerated. This, the report notes, could benefit those who are not violent and could improve with job training and medical care.
Being accused of drug possession or other similar crimes is a stressful event for people in Florida. However, if some who are proposing changes to the mandatory sentencing rules are successful, these types of accusations will carry much less fear of penalty than they currently do. In the meantime, if a person finds that they have been accused of a crime, they may do well to research not only the specifics of the charges against them, but also the ability to defend against a potential penalty.
Source: tbo.com, Paula Dockery: In Florida, does the punishment fit the crime?, Paula Dockery, Dec. 8, 2013