Sen. Jeff Brandes has filed legislation that seeks to give prosecutors the ability to reevaluate sentences.
The bill, SB 662, would give state attorneys of judicial circuit courts the ability to petition the court to resentence an offender if the original sentence “no longer advances the interests of justice.”
The court can only choose to reduce or keep the original sentence under the bill — it can not make a sentence greater.
The goal is to ensure the criminal justice system is used for public safety, not only through punishment, but by providing rehabilitation to prisoners.
“By providing a means to reevaluate a sentence after some time has passed, the legislature intends to provide prosecutors and courts with another tool to ensure these purposes are achieved,” the bill reads.
When considering the petition, the court can look at post conviction factors, such as the inmate’s disciplinary and rehabilitation record while incarcerated; whether the individual’s physical condition and age provides less risk for future violence; and evidence that the original sentence is no longer in the interest of justice.
The bill requires prosecutors to make “reasonable efforts” to notify victims of the petition, as well as the date of the resentencing hearing, where they can present a statement.
If passed, the bill would take effect July 1. As of Thursday, there is no House version of the bill.
This is another bill by state legislators to redefine the way criminal justice is addressed in Florida.
Dianne Hart refiled a bill to reduce the mandatory sentencing time served from 85% to 65% in a similar effort to modernize the criminal justice system. Although there is no current Senate bill, Brandes sponsored the Senate version last year.
Brandes has long been a proponent for criminal justice reform, arguing both the merits of a reformative system that leads to less recidivism and for cost savings that could be realized through shorter sentences.