Broward News

Florida Leads Country in Prisoners Serving Max Sentences, Being Released Without Supervision

A recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts points out that nationally, the number of inmates released without supervision has grown a staggering 119 percent between 1990 and 2012.

But the biggest discrepancies the report found came in -- you guessed it -- Florida.

The Pew study looked at, among other things, what states' inmates had to serve the longest portion of their terms and whether inmates were receiving follow-up supervision after being released. As the Sun Sentinel wrote this morning, "more than 64 percent of inmates released from Florida prisons in 2012 -- 21,426 former prisoners -- were sent away with no additional supervision after their release." This was the highest percentage in the nation.

The exact reasons why Florida has this problem are unclear, but the study takes a guess, attributing it in large part to the state's absence of parole boards, which were axed in 1984 for all noncapital felonies.

Because of this, inmates in Florida are required to serve 85 percent of their sentences.

Still, there's hope for change. As the Sentinel points out, instead of finishing their sentences, other options for the prisoners remain:

"The report argues states would be better served if more offenders finished their sentences not behind bars but on mandatory community supervision, something Pew says gives offenders a better chance to avoid reoffending and saves the cost of housing them behind bars."

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Ryan Cortes