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Governor Opposes Releasing 3,000 Inmates Early

August 31st, 2007 by flanews

     As Florida lawmakers look at ways to cut more than $ 1 billion from the budget, the Department of Corrections says one way to help is to free some prisoners early.  The DOC says releasing 3,000 low-risk inmates now in work-release centers would free up bed space and save tens of millions of dollars.  But as Chris Casquejo tells us, the governor formerly known as chain gang Charlie is not a big fan of the proposal.

Hear it here:  Early Inmate Release Proposed 

     The Department of Corrections says freeing the 3,000 work release inmates early would not just ease overcrowding, it would save a bundle, $25 million the first year, and $34-million the next.
     “You may be going to a restaurant and they’re your waiter or they’re working in the kitchen,” said Mark Fontaine.
     Fontaine is with the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association.  He says the only difference is where work-release prisoners will spend their nights.
     “Yet they will be checking in frequently with their probation officer and their probation officer will be making visits to them at work and at home at random so they won’t know when the person’s showing up,” he said.
     The Department of Corrections says it will not release sex offenders, those who have escaped or tried to escape, or those with a history of domestic violence.
     The governor, once known as chain gang Charlie because of his tough views on crime, is not softening for this specific proposal.
     “It shouldn’t be surprising that somebody who sponsored the 85 percent bill to keep criminals incarcerated, in prison, that letting anybody out early is not something I would condone or agree with,” said Gov. Charlie Crist.
     State lawmakers only have a couple of weeks to decide what to cut as we get closer to the special session.
     Florida’s Department of Corrections has an annual budget of $2.3 billion.  That makes up most of the state’s spending on criminal justice.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Criminal Justice, Politics, State Budget, State News | No Comments »

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