Probation Violation Arrests Questioned in Florida

You may sleep better knowing Florida officials are getting tough on probation violators, but many sheriffs say they can’t afford to keep jailing state offenders without state money.

The case of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, who was abducted and allegedly killed by a parole violator, angered the public and brought big changes at the Department of Corrections.

The policy now is arrest anyone who violates parole, even if it’s a minor offense like missing an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. It’s a policy the Police Benevolent Association supports.

Dave Murrell, Executive Director of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, says, “They’ve already been given a chance, and to give them a second chance and a third chance and a fourth chance, it sends the wrong message to society, and after a while and these probation violators become more adventuresome and end up committing murder.”

Sheriffs say they understand the need to prevent crimes like the murder of Carlie Brucia, but they say parole offenders are crowding county jails.

Larry Campbell, Vice President of the Florida Sheriff’s Association, says, “We’re paying the cost for them, for their food, their housing, their lodging, security, medical care, etcetera. It’s a double burden on the taxpayer.”

Campbell has no problem arresting those who violate parole, but he hopes the state Legislature will give counties more money to take of the added prisoners or limit the amount of time state offenders will stay in county jails.

Sheriff Campbell says the Sheriff’s Association is especially concerned with how long probation violators can remain in county jails. He says some are there for several months.