| Read Time: 2 minutes | Prison & Sentencing

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.

The reentry program must include prison-based substance abuse treatment, general education development and adult basic education courses. The program must also include vocational training and decision making and personal development training.

In order to qualify for the program the prisoner must meet certain criteria. They must be nonviolent offender which has been defined as a third degree felony offense that is not a forcible felony.  The prisoner must have completed at least half of their sentence and they must have been identified as having the need for substance abuse treatment.

If the nonviolent offender meets the eligibility requirements, the department of corrections must then notify the sentencing court and get their approval for participation in the program.  The state attorney is also notified and may file a written objection for the prisoner’s participation in the program.

The prisoner must complete at least six months in the reentry program and if they complete the program then the sentencing judge may order a modification of the sentence to include drug offender probation.  If the offender violates the probation then the court may revoke probation and impose any legal sentence that they see fit.

It seems as though the Florida legislature is finally realizing that addicts needs rehabilitation and not just punishment.  A person who is able to cope with their addiction is less likely to reoffend and will save the tax payers money by reducing recidivism.

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Andrew Moses

Andrew has been practicing criminal law his entire career. After graduating from law school he began working as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting cases in Orange and Osceola Counties. During his time as an Assistant State Attorney, Andrew handled all types of cases ranging from misdemeanors to such serious felonies as drug trafficking and armed robbery. His experience as a prosecutor helped him gain perspective of the criminal justice system and how the government established its cases.

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