Lean times all around, but Florida prisons are booming

This is a discussion on Lean times all around, but Florida prisons are booming within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Reservations please............. Michael Mayo | News Columnist May 13, 2008 Crime might not pay, but we keep paying for criminals. Especially for offenders in the ...

Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Lean times all around, but Florida prisons are booming

  1. #1
    Member Array socuban's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    lalaland
    Posts
    217

    Lean times all around, but Florida prisons are booming

    Reservations please.............

    Michael Mayo | News Columnist May 13, 2008

    Crime might not pay, but we keep paying for criminals.

    Especially for offenders in the never-ending War on Drugs.

    In a lean budget year that will put the crimp on public schools, universities and health care, the state's prison system keeps pumping iron. The upcoming budget includes $309 million to build three prisons. That's in addition to the $2.5 billion the Department of Corrections gets for annual operating expenses.

    The numbers are startling. Five years ago, Florida's prison population was 77,316. By August, the Department of Corrections expects the figure to top 100,000, an increase of 28 percent from 2003.

    That far outpaces the general population growth.

    It would be one thing if other big states have had similar prison growth. But the two states with larger prison populations, Texas and California, had shrinkage last year. So did New York.

    A March report by the Pew Center on the States found that 2.3 million Americans are incarcerated, one out of every 99 adults, the highest rate among industrialized nations. The report had a subsection on Florida titled "A Case Study in Growth."

    With almost 100,000 in prisons and another 64,000 locked up in county jails, Florida's adult incarceration rate is even higher. Florida has an adult population just under 14 million.

    "Drug policies over the last 20 years account for the growth more than anything," said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based criminal-justice research organization that advocates alternatives to incarceration.

    At 20.7 percent, drug offenders make up the biggest segment of the state prison population, according to the state. Of the 3,307 people sent to prison from Broward last year, 537 (16.2 percent) were for cocaine possession, according to the Broward State Attorney's Office.

    Broward sent more people to prison last year than every county except Hillsborough (4,000).

    Drop by the Broward County Courthouse on any given day and you'll see a steady stream of defendants put away for nonviolent drug crimes, including possession of cocaine, residue-laden crack pipes and painkillers without prescriptions.

    Jeff Marcus, chief of the felony division for Broward State Attorney Mike Satz, said all drug offenders sent to prison have prior felony convictions and first-timers are given the chance to enter treatment programs in drug court or jail.

    He said many drug offenders sent to prison also have violent felonies, theft or burglary on their rap sheets.

    "These are people who have to be taken off the streets," Marcus said.

    Florida's prison population has also grown because of stricter policies. Starting in 1995, criminals had to serve 85 percent of their sentences. And there's been zero tolerance for parole violations.

    "Crime in Florida has dropped substantially during this period," The Pew report said, "but it has fallen as much or more in some states that have not grown their prison systems, or even shrunk them, such as New York."

    "It's a huge business," said Fort Lauderdale defense attorney Bill Gelin, whose JAABlog Web site has been critical of strict drug prosecutions in Broward. "It's a big employer, and there are powerful interests behind it."

    It's also easy politics.

    Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein calls the drug war "an abysmal failure" and said it's time Satz shows "better discretion" in certain drug cases. "The easiest arrest for police to make is for drug possession," he said.

    Florida spends almost $20,000 a year on each prisoner. Mauer said changing the approach to the drug war to de-emphasize prisons makes long-term economic sense, but it won't be easy.

    "It's like trying to close a military base," Mauer said.

    "These prisons are mainly in rural areas, and a whole economy sprouts around them."

    There's got to be a better way.

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Rowlett, Texas
    Posts
    1,739
    Drop by the Broward County Courthouse on any given day and you'll see a steady stream of defendants put away for nonviolent drug crimes, including possession of cocaine, residue-laden crack pipes and painkillers without prescriptions.

    Wait till they can't afford their habit and more and watch that change.
    Psalms 144:1
    Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.
    Senior Instructor for Tactical and Defensive of Texas
    http://www.tac-def-tx.com/
    CHL INSTRUCTOR
    Retired LEO
    NRA member
    TCHA member

  4. #3
    Senior Member Array flagflyfish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Posts
    993
    Maybe we could exile them to ......
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    Mexico!!!
    "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier
    and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the
    service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the
    love and thanks of man and woman."

    -- Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)

  5. #4
    BAC
    BAC is offline
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    2,292
    And here I thought our main concern right now was fire.


    -B

  6. #5
    Member Array The Arverni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    131
    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    Wait till they can't afford their habit and more and watch that change.
    So true. I don't have the statistics, but years ago, I was in a class that was visited by a master Sgt. from the local PD, and he told us that about 80% of the property crimes committed in our county were perpetrated by a core group of about 60 individuals who were stealing to feed their drug habits. Now add to that all the violence and killing (gang and otherwise) that's related to drug deals and fighting over drug sales territory, and it probably accounts for a high percentage of our crimes. Every state needs a three-strikes law that will simply warehouse these people for 20 years without the possibility of parole, regardless of how minor the strikes. I would happily pay more taxes for this. MORE PRISONS! Oh, and if they're not US citizens, deport them!
    Yes, the world has gotten smaller, but it will always be too big to be ruled by unelected bureaucrats.

  7. #6
    BAC
    BAC is offline
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    2,292
    Quote Originally Posted by The Arverni View Post
    Every state needs a three-strikes law that will simply warehouse these people for 20 years without the possibility of parole, regardless of how minor the strikes.
    Interesting. A homeless person in Michigan was penalized by this for breaking into a warehouse during the winter three times, and is doing life or some other exorbitantly long sentence. Perhaps we should think this one over before jumping in head first.

    MORE PRISONS! Oh, and if they're not US citizens, deport them!
    Incidentally, we probably wouldn't need more if we deported non-citizens.


    -B

  8. #7
    VIP Member
    Array Miggy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Miami-Dade, FL
    Posts
    6,258
    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post
    Incidentally, we probably wouldn't need more if we deported non-citizens.
    In 2003 and according to DOJ stats, 270,000 illegals were serving prison time
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
    Signed: Me!

  9. #8
    BAC
    BAC is offline
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    2,292
    That many...? Disgraceful. And folks tell me illegal immigration is an "untouchable issue" in politics.


    -B

  10. #9
    Member Array The Arverni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    131
    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post
    Interesting. A homeless person in Michigan was penalized by this for breaking into a warehouse during the winter three times, and is doing life or some other exorbitantly long sentence. Perhaps we should think this one over before jumping in head first.
    -B
    True, nothing is perfect, but there is a path that one follows on the way to becoming a career criminal. Once it can be demonstrated that a person is on this path, they should be pulled out of society before they escalate to doing serious harm to others.
    Yes, the world has gotten smaller, but it will always be too big to be ruled by unelected bureaucrats.

  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array mr.stuart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    usa-southeast texas
    Posts
    1,707
    We would not need more prisons if parents did their job.OOPS!That was politcally incorrect!

  12. #11
    Moderator
    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    44,640
    We are not tough enough...prisons are a joke!

    Eliminate early release for 'good' behavior (another joke)...
    Eliminate parole...
    Serve the FULL sentence...
    No TV...
    No weights...
    Stay in your cell (24-7)...
    Educational magazines/books only...
    No smoking...
    Pay for your stay...
    Work for your food (gardens...or something)...
    Harsh penalties for trouble makers in jails (longer sentences)...
    Conclude death penalties in a much shorter time period...

    Stay armed...stay safe!
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

    ***********************************
    Certified Glock Armorer
    NRA Life Member[/B]

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array Sergeant Mac's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    783
    Quote Originally Posted by The Arverni View Post
    So true. I don't have the statistics, but years ago, I was in a class that was visited by a master Sgt. from the local PD, and he told us that about 80% of the property crimes committed in our county were perpetrated by a core group of about 60 individuals who were stealing to feed their drug habits. Now add to that all the violence and killing (gang and otherwise) that's related to drug deals and fighting over drug sales territory, and it probably accounts for a high percentage of our crimes.
    I'm not going to argue those statistics. In fact, I think they're pretty close to spot-on.

    But there's something I believe you are failing to consider, and this may be best illustrated by the VIOLENCE, which, as you stated, are related to drug deals and fighting over drug sales territory. I would also include ripoffs during drug deals and armed resistance to arrest.

    Now, there was unquestionably a great deal of violence, in the very same sorts of instances and for the very same reasons, during Prohibition.

    So, here we are, decades later. Prohibition is long since over. Alcohol is sold virtually everywhere. There are probably a WHOLE lot more drinkers, per capita, than there were during Prohibition. Where are the beer truck heists? Where are the gang wars between the Busch and Bud gangs? Has there been a St. Patrick's Day Massacre that I somehow missed?

    Al Capone was surely culpable in countless murders. Did he order people killed because he was DRUNK? Or did he do so because they were standing in between him and his MONEY, and because neither he nor they had any legal recourse?

    At the previous turn of the century, you could send your CHILD to the drug store with a handful of coin to purchase and bring home to you anything they had, which included, at that time, heroin and cocaine. A "prescription" was nothing more than a recommendation from a doctor, and it was not even required.

    Was there a major problem with thefts, robberies and burglaries back then by drug addicts using crime to support their drug habits? I think not. But when you prohibit ANY commodity (or service), those who want those things do not simply shrug their shoulders and abandon those desires. Instead, fertile ground has been created upon which black markets invariably form. And everything is always more expensive on the black market.

    Were it not illegal, marijuana would be no more expensive than tobacco, cocaine would be no more expensive than coffee, methamphetamine would probably not even EXIST....

    ....and the people who sold those things would be no more likely to kill each other than Starbucks owners are.....

    How much of the harm attributed to drugs might, in fact, stem from the drug WAR instead?

  14. #13
    VIP Member
    Array Hopyard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Disappeared
    Posts
    11,628

    You just said what no one wants to hear, right on!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sergeant Mac View Post
    I'm not going to argue those statistics. In fact, I think they're pretty close to spot-on.

    But there's something I believe you are failing to consider, and this may be best illustrated by the VIOLENCE, which, as you stated, are related to drug deals and fighting over drug sales territory. I would also include ripoffs during drug deals and armed resistance to arrest.

    Now, there was unquestionably a great deal of violence, in the very same sorts of instances and for the very same reasons, during Prohibition.

    So, here we are, decades later. Prohibition is long since over. Alcohol is sold virtually everywhere. There are probably a WHOLE lot more drinkers, per capita, than there were during Prohibition. Where are the beer truck heists? Where are the gang wars between the Busch and Bud gangs? Has there been a St. Patrick's Day Massacre that I somehow missed?

    Al Capone was surely culpable in countless murders. Did he order people killed because he was DRUNK? Or did he do so because they were standing in between him and his MONEY, and because neither he nor they had any legal recourse?

    At the previous turn of the century, you could send your CHILD to the drug store with a handful of coin to purchase and bring home to you anything they had, which included, at that time, heroin and cocaine. A "prescription" was nothing more than a recommendation from a doctor, and it was not even required.

    Was there a major problem with thefts, robberies and burglaries back then by drug addicts using crime to support their drug habits? I think not. But when you prohibit ANY commodity (or service), those who want those things do not simply shrug their shoulders and abandon those desires. Instead, fertile ground has been created upon which black markets invariably form. And everything is always more expensive on the black market.

    Were it not illegal, marijuana would be no more expensive than tobacco, cocaine would be no more expensive than coffee, methamphetamine would probably not even EXIST....

    ....and the people who sold those things would be no more likely to kill each other than Starbucks owners are.....

    How much of the harm attributed to drugs might, in fact, stem from the drug WAR instead?
    You just wrote what no one wants to hear or read about or believe--but you are right on.

    And there are many additional distortions to our society by these efforts at a drug war than overcrowded jails and street warfare between gangs.

    We know that what we are doing is not working. So, maybe instead of doing the same thing that doesn't work over and over again, we could try a different approach.

    I don't drink (save on rare occasions one just to be friendly) and I don't smoke (except for a cigar on holidays and special occasions), and I have never touched an illegal drug. I might be one of the few people left on earth who have no idea what weed smells like.

    So, my legalization viewpoint is not because I want something.

    What I want is an end to the national nuttiness.

    It costs too much, doesn't work, and turns what is basically a public health/mental health issue into a criminal issue.

    Users are self-medicating. We need to find ways to treat the pain so we don't have to punish the behavior.

  15. #14
    BAC
    BAC is offline
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    2,292
    Quote Originally Posted by The Arverni View Post
    True, nothing is perfect, but there is a path that one follows on the way to becoming a career criminal. Once it can be demonstrated that a person is on this path, they should be pulled out of society before they escalate to doing serious harm to others.
    This would never hold in court. "Slippery slope" is called a logical fallacy for a reason; it can't be proven or disproven, and is considered opinion instead of fact exactly for that reason. A large number of homeless, in this case, are guilty only of trespassing or similar minor and nonviolent crimes. These aren't the people I'd worry about, or if I was a parent that I'd worry my kids being near. Worse, with your proposal, you'd be forcing those without mandatory sentencing who have committed violent crimes back out to be replaced in jail/prison by those who are truthfully no danger to society.

    Until our entire justice system is revamped and the prison system reworked, we have no business to implement a "three strikes" rule because it's most often attacking the least worrisome criminals.

    Sergeant Mac, great answer and spot on. Despite the resistance in government and by lobbyists to abandon the "war on drugs", I think you'll find the only thing really preventing us from finally ridding ourselves of it is a coherent plan for how to implement legalization and how to handle those currently in prison for drug-only charges (possession and the like; this obviously doesn't include drug-related violence and other non-drug-related crimes to which a drug charge was merely attached).


    -B

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array Sergeant Mac's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    783
    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Users are self-medicating. We need to find ways to treat the pain so we don't have to punish the behavior.
    Thank you for your kind reply.

    I'm going to take issue with this one small part of it, though.

    I don't think that "we" need to do anything whatsoever. Since "we" had nothing to do with creating the drug addiction, "we" bear no responsibility for treating it, or its underlying causes.

    Liberty and responsibility go hand in hand. I, for one, believe that people should have TOTAL liberty to do whatever they desire (as long as their actions do not directly interfere with the rights to life, liberty or property of others), and that they should also bear TOTAL and EXCLUSIVE responsibility for their own actions.

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. Florida Open Carry holds events across Central Florida - Examiner.com
    By StogieC in forum Open Carry Issues & Discussions
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: October 13th, 2010, 11:15 AM
  2. Stock purchase booming
    By silverfox031 in forum Off Topic & Humor Discussion
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: March 11th, 2009, 07:33 PM
  3. Bad guy gets shot 22 times - 17 COM with a .40 but still shoots a cop 4 times(merged)
    By razz in forum In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Replies: 57
    Last Post: January 10th, 2009, 10:52 PM
  4. One Florida City Calls for a State Split: North Florida and South Florida
    By deadeye72 in forum Off Topic & Humor Discussion
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: May 7th, 2008, 08:47 PM
  5. Attention Florida CWFL Holders - serious conflict in the Florida Statutes
    By MattInFla in forum Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: October 26th, 2006, 12:44 PM

Search tags for this page

michael satz no prison drug charges

Click on a term to search for related topics.