According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics the United States prison population is over two million people. That is almost equivalent to the next two highest prison populations in the world COMBINED. I know that as a country we always want to beat China (#2) and Russia (#3) but this is just absurd. Is our population more deviant or do we need to reevaluation our sentencing philosophy?
Grits for breakfast is a blog about the Texas criminal just system. On March 23 they took a look at the recent Supreme Court opinion, Missouri v. Frye. The Supreme Court ruled that criminal defense lawyers are required to convey a plea offer to their client. If they do not, then this may be grounds for obtaining a new trial. I do not think that anyone has any problems with this opinion. All defense attorneys should tell their clients about all plea offers. The blogger does look at little deeper and is astonished that the criminal conduct of Frye was related to a felony driving on a suspended license, and was looking at up to four years in prison.
The Florida Legislature has passed a bill that would allow for prison sentence modification. Both the House and Senate, has passed bills that would allow for the early release of prisoners held for non-violent offenses. The bill creates a new law that requires the Florida Department of Corrections to develop a reentry program designed to allow nonviolent offenders to have their incarceration reduced by allowing them to participate in an intensive substance abuse treatment program.
Gov. Rick Scott just distributed a press release noting that Florida's crime rate is the lowest it has been in 40 years. Scott proudly delivered the news, but it comes at a time when Florida's prisons are incredibly overcrowded, with 104,000 inmates in the state. If crime is the lowest it has been since the 1960s, then why is Florida housing the nation's third largest population of prisoners?