Saturday, August 3, 2019

Alternative Sentencing: Money Well Spent Essay -- Criminal Justice

Florida is losing the war on drugs though financial attrition. The economic impact of substance abuse in Florida is estimated to be roughly 6% of the state’s gross domestic product (Miami 20). One contributor is the myopic view by a judicial system that chooses to impose harsh criminal penalties, including incarceration, on non-violent offenders with minor possession charges. Increasing budgetary constraints, leading to fewer available resources, contrast harshly with the rapidly growing substance abuse. In 2009, statewide drug convictions increased by 5.9%, while state and federal funding towards alternative-sentencing programs decreased by 5.8% (Families 3; National Center). Currently Florida has more than 20,000 inmates in prison and an additional 60,000 in jail for assorted drug charges, a large portion for crimes involving minor possession or simple purchasing (Families 2). The fiscally intelligent response to non-violent offenders charged with minor possession is not the judicial system’s traditional approach, but rather utilizing alternative-sentencing programs such as drug court. In 1982, as a result of pressure to avoid federal sanctions, Florida enacted mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenders (TASC 4). Within 18 months, as thousands of offenders were charged with simple purchasing or possession of controlled substances, federal and state courts were quickly overwhelmed. The growing number of incarcerated drug offenders tripled over the next decade causing prisons and jails to suffer from overcrowding (National TASC 6). With federal and state budgets stretched dangerously thin, Florida legislature quickly passed state statutes allowing judges to discharge simple purchase and possession charges after th... ... 03 April 2012. Florida. Executive Office of the Governor. Directory of DCF Funded Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Programs. Tallahassee: Executive Office of the Governor, 2009. Print. Florida. Supreme Court Task Force on Treatment-Based Drug Courts. Report on Florida’s Drug Courts. Tallahassee: Office of the State Courts Administrator, 2009. Print. Miami Behavioral Health Center. The Annual Economic Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use in Florida. Miami: Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association, 2009. Print. National Center for State Courts. â€Å"Budget Resource Center.† National Center for State Courts, n.d. Web. 03 April 2012 National TASC. Considering Public Safety: The TASC Abilities. Alexandria: Office of Justice, Programs, n.d. Print. TASC. Clinical Case Management Model. Washington D.C. N.p. n.p. 2011. Print.

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