Republican legislators want Florida to overhaul sentences

Published 01-23-2019

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida Republican says the state's prison system is in a 'crisis' and legislators need to pass sweeping changes to the state's sentencing laws to battle the problem.

State Sen. Jeff Brandes from St. Petersburg said Wednesday that he is filing a Florida version of the criminal justice overhaul that was enacted late last year by Congress. He said that Florida does not have enough money for the prison system that now holds nearly 100,000 prisoners. He noted that the Department of Corrections has widespread job vacancies that it is having trouble filling.

Brandes did not give specifics on the bill but said the state should change the threshold for felony crimes and give judges greater discretion on handing out sentences.

Rep. Byron Donalds, a Naples Republican, says he will sponsor the legislation in the House.

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