Florida’s prison population is expected to grow by approximately 1,000 inmates over the next 6 years, according to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research. The researchers believe Florida’s prison population may rise to 100,158 individuals by 2022. However, the reason for this jump isn’t what you think. You would expect there to be more inmates because more people are convicted of crimes. But crime is actually going down. The reason there will be more inmates in the near future is because Florida prison sentences are increasing. If you have been charged with a crime and you are worried the prosecutor or judge wants to sentence you to the longest amount of time in prison possible under the law, you should contact skilled Sarasota criminal defense attorney Erika Valcarcel right away.

Longer Sentences Keep More People Imprisoned

The report showed that in June 2016, the average sentence length of new inmates had increased to 64.1 months, which is more than 5 years in prison. Inmate populations are increasing in Florida because many individuals receive longer sentences than they would have for the same crimes in the past. Florida legislators have also passed more than 100 mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the previous 30 years, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Judges may be required to sentence someone to prison longer than they would have in the past because of mandatory minimums.

Ways to Reduce Prison Populations

There are a number of tactics Florida could take to reduce prison populations while maintaining public safety. One way, which is gaining attention across the nation, is reforming mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. There are individuals in prison for lengthy or even life sentences for non-violent drug-related crimes. Many of these prisoners could be helped through parole and drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Florida could focus on more first-offender diversion programs so that people are not immediately entered into the criminal justice system or prison for a non-violent first-time offense.

Many activists also argue that Florida should do more to help inmates receive an education and job training during incarceration. By providing training and helping inmates develop marketable skills, the system would encourage rehabilitation and reduce recidivism. As of right now, the state provides only about 14 percent of prison inmates with drug rehabilitation or skills-based programs, reported the Tampa Bay Times.

A Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

If you have been charged with a crime and face a lengthy prison sentence, call Erika Valcarcel immediately at (941) 363-7900 or contact us online. A skilled defense attorney with Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. understands how scary potential imprisonment can be, which is why she will devote all of her resources to proving your innocence or if necessary, minimizing the consequences of conviction. In addition to building you the strongest defense possible under the law, she will push for a fair and reasonable sentence.

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