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Spend Now, Save Later

December 23rd, 2013 by flanews

There’s an old adage that says you need to spend money to make money. As Matt Horn reports a new report says the state needs to spend money to save money.

More than 100-thousand inmates are behind bars in Florida. Costing two billon a year. An independent study released Monday says for taxpayers to cut that cost — the state will have to spend money.

“We could spend thousands to save millions when it comes to reentry,” said Dan McCarthy, Florida TaxWatch Director for Smart Justice.

8 of every 10 inmates are released within five years of their conviction. Just over one in four who are released will be back behind bars within five years.

“The cost of failed reentry is overwhelming to the taxpayer,” said McCarthy.

Florida TaxWatch says its simple math. If there are more programs to teach inmates skills taxpayers will reap the benefits.

“If we could reduce the number of prisoners that return to the state prison, we can save significant money,” said McCarthy.

The independent study says that if fewer people reoffend and go back to prison it could save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year.

A new reentry prison in the Florida Panhandle will open its gates next week…the first prison of its kind in the Florida.

“Their time here is going to be dedicated to getting what they need to make sure when they get out we’ve done everything we can to maximize their opportunity for successful integration back into society,” said Michael Crews, Department of Corrections.

Taxpayers spend 20-thousand dollars a year to keep inmates in state prison.

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