The recidivism rate in Florida has dropped and is continuing to fall, said the Department of Corrections Secretary Michael D. Crews. But, he says, more can be done and private prisons and companies should stay out of state business.
The recidivism rate is the rate at which inmates released from prison return in three years from their release date. That figure fell from 33.8 percent in 2003 to 27.6 percent in 2008. This means more inmates are being released and finding footing back in the communities they may have left behind years ago.
Both the prison system and law enforcement are being credited with the improvement. After all, the crime rate is at its lowest in 41 years—making everyone less likely to commit a crime that would send them to prison.
Within the prison walls, officials use education as the best form of crime prevention, giving incarcerated men and women the opportunity to get their GED or even a college degree. This, they say, makes them more marketable in the job force when they are released and can also contribute to a confidence level so important when trying to gain footing on the outside.
With fewer people returning to prison, the corrections budget actually has some money leftover. The governor has suggested using this excess to give bonuses to corrections workers, including prison workers and probation officers.
He would also like to spend the money on opening three prison facilities that were newly built but never needed. Two of them would be used as transitional reentry facilities.
But, who should run these facilities is up in the air. The Florida Smart Justice Alliance believes they should be managed by private corporations, Secretary Crews disagrees.
“The thought of opening these centers I fully support,” he said. “Having said that, I fully support the Department of Corrections running and managing those facilities.”
Private corrections corporations are in the business to make money, plain and simple. There are major criticisms of these companies and how they manage to save money over the state and how they, in turn, make a profit off the criminalization of citizens. Needless to say, if any correctional institutions are to be opened, it would be in the best interest of everyone to keep them state-managed.
No one wants to think about having to go to prison. But, if you are charged with serious drug charges or a violent offense, it’s a real possibility. If you are facing any criminal charges, contact our offices today to discuss how we might be able to help.