Legislators Preview Justice Summit 2015

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January 8, 2015
By: Jennie Gutierrez

The upcoming fourth annual Justice Summit will give more than 200 experts, policy makers, elected officials, law enforcement and service providers a gathering place to discuss important issues related to the state's criminal justice system.

"This is a turning point. What can we do different with the assessment tools we have and the kinds of things that we can do with those people that are pliable to give them a new compass, some skill sets, and a new direction in life so they do not re-offend," said Dennis Baxley, of the House Judiciary Committee.

Some talking points on the agenda include: reuniting families, the developmentally disabled, substance abusers and faith-based programming in the criminal justice system.

Barney Bishop is the president of the Florida Smart Justice Alliance, which is hosting the Justice Summit. The Alliance is working to keep communities safer by holding offenders accountable for their crimes but also giving them the tools to rebuild their lives.

Bishop said the summit will focus on how to make inmate's transition back into society a smooth one. He said for that to happen, there are two important tasks for an inmate.

"Number one: Being able to read and write. And number 2: being able to get a job. If we can get those two things accomplished then the chances of them becoming a recidivist, going back to prison, is significantly diminished," said Bishop.

The Justice Summit is Monday January 12 through Wednesday January 14 in Sarasota, Florida. For more information and to register to attend the summit, go to www.justicesummit.org.