Florida Leaders Doing More Thinking on the State's Probation System

Sarah Lunde, Jessica Lunsford and Carli Brucia were all allegedly murdered by probation violators, men with a violent past. Legislation dubbed the anti-murder act would have required judges to send violators with a violent history back to prison.

Lawmakers decided they couldn’t go on the record voting against something called anti murder, so they didn’t vote at all.

The bill died in a budget committee where it sat for two months without a vote. Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist pushed the bill, but got no where.

"The best explanation that I got is that it was costly, you know, $56 million, but out of a $64 billion budget, I’m obviously disappointed that it didn’t pass."

Crist even brought TV host John Walsh to town to crusade for the legislation.

John Walsh says, "Parole and probation are supposed to be a privilege, not something to flaunt at Floridians and say, ‘I beat the system.’ "

Jeb Bush says the key to public safety is returning probation violators to prison, but even he did not speak out forcefully for the anti murder legislation.

"People that commit crimes and then are on probation are more than likely to commit crimes."

Besides money, one possible reason for the bill’s failure is gubernatorial politics. Passing it would have helped Charlie Crist’s bid for the state’s top job and hurt others who may get in the race.

State corrections officials say as many as one out of every three probationers violate the terms of his or her release each year.


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