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criminal justice

If Florida lawmakers don’t do anything policy wise soon, the state’s prison population could increase. That’s according to a report commissioned by the Florida Senate to promote the need for prison reform.

Florida lawmakers are working to create a centralized location for criminal justice data statewide.

About $5 million separates the Florida House and Senate’s criminal justice budget. But, while there are some differences, there are areas where both chambers agree.

A bill making its way through the Florida Legislature could radically reform the way children are handled in the criminal justice system. The measure would put stricter limits on when and how juveniles can be tried as adults.

Florida is one of 15 states that allow prosecutors to unilaterally decide to charge children as adults. That process is called direct filing.


Florida Highway Safety And Motor Vehicles

Pinellas County Senator Jeff Brandes is renewing his push to limit how the state suspends driver's licenses. He filed a bill in the Florida Senate that would ban suspensions for most offenses that don't involve driving.

A quartet of Tallahassee law students has been advocating two changes to Florida’s Constitution. The Constitution Revision Commission is now weighing those among hundreds of other public proposals.

Emory Jones just needs to look at his left arm for a reminder of what happened at Avon Park Youth Academy. There is a faint scar in the shape of a snake above his elbow from when an officer beat him.

Despite past failed legislative attempts, a bipartisan pair of lawmakers is vowing to continue their work on criminal justice reform—particularly within Florida’s prison system.

Florida has one of the largest prison populations in the U.S. As of 2016, there were 99,000 people incarcerated in the state. The number peaked in 2011 with roughly 102,300 people in prison.

A bill aimed at decreasing the number of juveniles charged as adults is still alive in the Florida Senate, after narrowly passing its first committee Monday.

A top priority for Senate President Joe Negron aimed at decriminalizing adolescence passed its first committee hearing Monday, but not without some concerns.

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday moved to intervene in a nearly year-old lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections, alleging that the state's prison agency "systematically violates the rights of inmates with disabilities."

Advocates of criminal justice reform in Florida hope the state legislature will address some of their top priorities in the upcoming legislative session. But a big push for structural changes to reduce the prison population are difficult because of a limited amount of money, resources and political will.

In her first public appearance as state attorney Monday, Melissa Nelson reiterated her campaign promise of restoring the public’s confidence in Northeast Florida’s criminal justice system.

Nelson admitted the challenge of changing the office’s culture will be an exacting task, but that she had a specific blueprint to accomplish that goal.

A Central Florida public defender called for an end to arrests for being broke. And the chief judge agrees the program needs to be evaluated, but for different reasons.

Orange and Osceola County Public Defender Bob Wesley is asking the chief judge to create a commission investigating court costs, fines and collection practices.

Wesley said that Tuesday morning alone, five people were arrested and brought before the court for unpaid fines – all with mental health issues.