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Florida Non-Violent Felons Legislation

By: Elizabeth Nickerson Email
By: Elizabeth Nickerson Email

They've done time behind bars for non-violent crimes, but their families say when convicted felons try to rejoin society, it's nearly impossible.

"We want to be tough on criminals, but smarter on justice...Something must be done" - those remarks sum up new efforts by Florida lawmakers and the Smart Justice Alliance to help non-violent felons re enter society.

But Patty Tucker, whose son is in jail awaiting trial right now, isn't buying it.

Patty Tucker, Mother of Ex-Offender, states, "violent offenders sometimes get drawn up into a world they did not want to be in to begin with and to leave them out of the loop of bringing them back into society it is biased. It is wrong. "

The bill aims to reduce the revolving prison door.

According to the Florida Criminal Justice Estimating Conference, there have been more than 32 thousand admissions to florida prisons this year. Of those, 14,000 are reoffenders. And almost half of all admissions are doing time for non-violent offenses.

Florida Lawmakers say they will work closely with re-entry programs to get former felons back to work. But Tucker says, it all has to start with the offender.

Patty Tucker: "all the amount of rehabiltation in the world is not going to save them, unless they are ready to save themselves."

The legislation would also offer more drug treatment and vocational training to nonviolent criminals.


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