Florida’s prison industry has endured scrutiny in recent years, and a new bill from Sen. Rob Bradley may offer some relief for the sector.
SB 484 would authorize a court to sentence prisoners to county jail for up to 24 months, if said county has a DOC contract.
The bill would also require prisoners to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence. Those prisoners will have sentences that don’t run longer than 24 months, and most felony convictions are exempt from this proposal.
On Wednesday morning, Bradley told Florida Politics that this is not a new idea.
“This is an idea that I’ve discussed with Senate and House colleagues for a couple of years now,” Bradley asserted.
“We’ve come close to including language in budget conforming bills in the past but we haven’t been able to cross the finish line,” Bradley added, saying that he’s “starting the conversation early this year.”
Part of the problem is that the state has more prisoners than its facilities can handle, Bradley said.
“Right now,” Bradley said, “the state incarcerates 100,000 inmates. After dealing with this issue for years, I’ve come to the conclusion that our infrastructure and personnel is simply not equipped to handle that number. We need to reduce the state population. This is a strategy to accomplish this goal.”
The bill, Bradley added, will benefit “certain local jails with excess capacity. The bill will help relieve budget pressures for those jurisdictions.”