BILLS TO WATCH

SB1308 introduced by Sen. Jeff Brandes – Criminal Justice Vice Chair
Co-introducers Senators Bracy ; Powell ; Rouson

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‘Authorizing the re-sentencing and release of certain persons who are eligible for sentence review under specified provisions; precluding eligibility for a sentence review for young adult offenders who previously committed, or conspired to commit, murder; requiring the Department of Corrections to notify young adult offenders in writing of their eligibility for sentence review within certain time frames; requiring the department to provide inmates with certain information upon their release’.
Effective Date: 7/1/2020 once passed.

This bill acknowledges the inarguable fact that the brain does not instantaneously mature once a person turns 18. In fact, it addresses the decision the US Supreme Court set in place in ‘Graham vs Florida’ resulting in no more life sentences for juvenile offenders. It was cruel and unusual punishment. The data shows that most offenders commit their crimes between the ages of 17 and 25 and suffer hefty sentences that contain no evaluation or assessment of their maturity when they reach full adulthood, usually between the ages of 26 to 28 years. By that time, the brain is fully developed allowing for better decision making and the realization of long-term consequences.

SB1308 calls for re-sentencing for those who meet the criteria. This puts the decision to release or retain in the hands of the local courts. And if an offender is denied in the local courts, it’s still not over. He/she will not be left to waste away in prison without further assessment but will have a re-evaluation at the set time. This brings hope and motivates offenders to do their best, to engage in self-betterment with the clear hope of going home. So slow down and take a moment to shoot off a quick email to these Senators thanking them for taking to heart the Forgotten who remain behind the barbed wire and their families who wait with open arms.

*Link to tracking SB1308: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/1308

Contact info: Sen. Jeff Brandes: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S24
Sen. Darryl Rousson: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S19
Sen. Bobby Powell: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S30
Sen. Randolph Bracy: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S11
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HB189 introduced by Rep. Diane Hart
(Multiciplicity of Co-introducers)
Increases Gain Time to Serving 65% of a sentence vs the current 85%

The criteria of this Bill applies to first-time and non-violent offenders. Even though it will not apply to everyone who has an EOS date, it opens the door to 65% across the board in the future as it was in the mid 90’s. And why not?

From the steps of the Capitol Bldg in Tallahassee, FL, on Feb. 5th, Rep. Diane Hart stated that this Bill would go on the ballot if it did not pass during Session, making it extremely hopeful Legislation.

Link to HB189: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/189
Contact Info: Rep. Diane Hart: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/contactmember.aspx?MemberId=4736&SessionId=89