One way to fix this problem is by enacting “safety valve” legislation. As described in another recent James Madison Institute paper, a safety valve neither eliminates the mandatory minimum sentence, nor requires judges to sentence offenders below the minimum term. It is a narrowly tailored exception for certain offenders and under certain circumstances.
Florida's mandatory minimum laws for nonviolent drug offenders do not work.
Though each state faces its own unique challenges, Floridians would do well to look to its southern neighbor, Texas, for inspiration on how to think creatively about reform.
The future of the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee and how best to fix the issues surrounding these environmental jewels is of serious significance to every Floridian.
Check out pictures from JMI's 30th Anniversary Celebration in Tallahassee.
Herbert Hoover Dike repairs may be answer to Lake Okeechobee water-release dilemma.
The tough-on-crime approach that led to zero-tolerance drug laws and long mandatory minimum prison sentences is ineffective and expensive. Florida has the third-largest state prison system and yet has the country’s fifth-highest violent crime rate.
Bob McClure, president of Florida's free-market think tank, the James Madison Institute, puts it this way:“Hire great principals, pay them well, give them the tools to do their jobs and then get out of their way. Americans will be positively amazed at how quickly students start learning more.”
Florida can’t fix its broken, expensive criminal justice system overnight — and there’s still resistance among lawmakers nervous about appearing soft on crime. But with key legislators taking the lead — including Senate President Joe Negron — there should be enough courage in Tallahassee to embrace proven reforms that save money without compromising public safety.
Mandatory minimums are a waste of money unless officials take steps to improve public safety.