drugs: Elderly woman in Dark Prison behind bars

Drug Charge Reforms, Compassionate Release Could Save Florida Money

Florida currently spends $2.4 billion annually on its criminal justice system. With the state’s criminal justice system operations being the third largest in the country, there are more than 96,000 Floridians in state prisons and another 166,000 under community supervision. We saw a 9% reduction in crime rates statewide in 2018, which is in line with Florida’s 48-year trend.

school-to-prison pipeline: photo illustration of hands clutching cell bars made of pencils with brick background

Florida Has Work to Do to Treat African American Youth Fairly

In the early 2000s I had the privilege to serve as the administrator of the Pinellas and Pasco counties Juvenile Assessment Centers. For those of you not familiar with the JACs, their purpose is to serve as a one-stop shop for all juvenile services. The JACs provide law enforcement with a central point of contact for juveniles who have been arrested. 

trauma: young guy is squatting in a corner, his arm supporting his head

Trauma-informed Care in Juvenile Detention Is Not Enough

While Florida has taken steps toward integrating trauma-informed practices in the juvenile justice system, the state needs to reconsider its treatment of youth. Notably, utilizing trauma-informed care in the juvenile justice system, while necessary, is not sufficient — prevention should be the goal, with trauma-informed services implemented in all child-involved systems. The state must also stop incarcerating children with adults and offer all juveniles in detention/incarceration access to trauma-informed services.

Florida: Very large circle of people hold hands indoors

Conference Nourishes Florida Restorative Justice

Formed in 2013 and established as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2014, the Florida Restorative Justice Association (FRJA) is the only entity in the state dedicated to supporting, strengthening and expanding Florida’s restorative justice practices (RJPs). In the last few years, the primary strategy to accomplish this task has been the creation of statewide conferences — one in Sarasota in September 2018 and one coming up in Broward County on Jan. 31, 2020.

girls: young woman wrinkling forehead and pressing lips while looking downwards

Locking Up Girls Doesn’t Create Change, Research Does

For the past 30 years, I have worked with girls and young women throughout the state of Florida, and for six years I have led the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, which is a recognized leader in the advancement of the rights of girls, young women and youth who identify as female, especially those impacted by the justice system.

Elderly person in prison cell holding onto the bars

Florida’s Longest-Serving Inmates: They Get Older, Sicker and More Well-behaved

An hour south of Miami, down the street from an alligator farm, a security guard buzzes visitors into the Homestead Correctional Institution. Each guest’s bags are run through a rickety metal detector and he or she is issued a panic button — a portable alarm that can be clipped to a waistband and pressed if an inmate attacks.