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Business Says “No More Prisons”

July 8th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Wednesday morning began with 100,552 inmates locked up in Florida prisons. The state also has or will soon have 11 thousand more beds under construction at a cost of almost a billion dollars. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, Floridas major business groups are saying enough is enough.

The bed this inmate will sleep in tonight cost 77,000 dollars to build. The state wants to build 11,000 more beds over the next five years.

For the first time, Floridas major business organizations are saying enough is enough. Florida cant afford any more prisons.

Instead, business leaders say non-violent minor drug offenders should be diverted to treatment programs, foreign nationals deported, and programs that work expanded. Allison DeFoor is a former prosecutor, judge and sheriff.

After 30 years of being in the justice system, Ive seen everything that doesnt work and its most of what were doing,” DeFoor said.

DeFoor has been a proponent of the faith and character training at Wakulla Correctional. Here inmates learn music, study the bible, practice yoga, and learn a trade.

The faith and character-based prisons, for instance, have a single-digit recidivism rate three years post release,” DeFoor said. “The general population is over 33 percent. The difference is hundreds of millions of dollars.

On the outside, Darryl Simpson was a financial advisor who stole his clients money. At Wakulla, he teaches inmates business.

A lot of these inmates see our American dream as something that is what it is, just a dream,” Simpson said. “They cant see making that into a reality. They have no hope of that. These classes provide them with that hope.

But right now that hope is nonexistent in most of the states prisons.

A new state law also allows the state to contract with out-of-state prisons and jails to house inmates with no ties to Florida.

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