Criminal Justice Reform

“Together, we can choose safety and justice for all.”

Our nation’s approach to criminal justice simply isn’t working and we need to take a new direction. We must make the thoughtful choice to put our safety ahead of vengeance. I will work to improve our complex criminal justice system – keeping our community safe by reducing recidivism, building trust between law enforcement and communities of color, and ending cruel and senseless mass incarceration.

The vast majority of prisoners are eventually released into Florida communities. Approximately one in four of those released returned to custody after committing new crimes or for administrative action within three years. Failing to fully address this recidivism rate not only undermines our potential but it comes at significant taxpayer cost while jeopardizing the safety of Florida communities. It costs roughly $100 per day, or upwards of $36,000 annually, to incarcerate one federal prisoner.

To reduce recidivism rates, we need to strongly support people re-entering society from prison and drug treatment programs so they have the support they need to stay in recovery, find meaningful work, go back to school, reunite with their families and live full lives.

To end the revolving door in our prisons, I will work to:

  • Fund evidence-based education, substance-abuse, transitional programs, and alternatives to incarceration.
  • Provide and incentivize critical life and job skills training.
  • Enhance employment guidance and support that leads to a lasting quality of life, so recidivism is no longer driven by poverty and financial hardship.
  • Ensure access to licensed behavioral health services.

Our country is over-incarcerating its people. Our country has less than five percent of the world’s population yet nearly one-quarter of its prisoners. One in three people in the United States has some type of criminal record – no other industrialized nation comes close. I will address over-incarceration by working to:

  • Ensure that sentences fit the crime by rethinking prison sentences for lower-level crimes.
  • Promote proven alternatives to prison that are overwhelmingly supported by victims.
  • End cash money bail.

Finally, I am committed to joining in the work of rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the public. Each citizen, and the law enforcement officers they entrust to protect them, deserve every opportunity to forge lasting trust through meaningful community outreach and genuine accountability.