The Broward-Palm Beach New Times blog features this post covering FAMM's campaign to scale back mandatory minimum sentences in Florida:
As the law stands right now in Florida, if you're caught with a bottle of pain pills, you'll face the same sentence as someone charged with lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. That's 25 years in prison, with no parole, the mandatory minimum sentence.
But since Gov. Rick Scott announced his plan to cut more than a billion dollars from the state's prison system, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a Washington, D.C.-based group dedicated to ending mandatory minimum sentencing policies nationwide, has taken up a campaign in the Sunshine State.
Greg Newburn, the Florida director of FAMM, says he hopes the governor's cost-cutting measures will provide an opportunity to change the sentencing laws in this state. "Sentencing reform is the only way to tackle the major problem," Newburn tells the Juice. "We can make small cuts here and there, but if we don't cut the flow of prisoners into the prisons, it's going to cost the state more money, not less." He adds, "The cuts have to begin on the front end."...
Right now, taxpayers spend about $20k per prisoner per year. "Two prisoners is a teacher in the classroom," Newburn says. "Every time we put two of these people in prison, we're essentially taking a teacher out of the classroom. It's time to decide what we value as a state."