Florida imprisoning fewer people than expected, state panel finds

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The number of people going to prison in Florida in the latter half of this year has fallen below earlier projections, according to a report by a panel of state forecasters.

But the prison population still will increase slightly in the long term.

The Criminal Justice Estimating Conference this month said prison admissions were 12,941 for July-November, or 346 below the estimate. The findings were included in a summary report.

The total state prison population at the end of November was 99,373, or 686 below estimates, the summary said.

Other findings include felony filings going down by 0.9 percent and the number of guilty dispositions decreasing 2.2 percent in the first eight months of 2015 over 2014.

Year-and-a-day sentences dropped 10.6 percent in the first five months of fiscal year 2015-16 as compared to fiscal year 2014-15.

In November 2015, the average sentence length of new commitments was just over five years, the report said.

“Taking this new information into consideration, the conferees adopted a forecast which assumes a 2.8 percent decrease in total admissions in (fiscal year) 2015-16 and a 0.5 percent decrease in (fiscal year) 2016-17,” it said.

But the overall prison population will follow an somewhat upward trend over the next few years.

By fiscal year 2020-21, for instance, the number of “admissions” will outpace releases by 30,646 to 30,053, with an expected total of 100,301 people locked up in Florida state prisons. That’s 928 more than currently, but a difference of only 0.9 percent.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected]



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