Florida Crime Report: Dropping Crime Rates But Increasing Prison Population

Last week, a story by FloridaWatchdog.org was released, detailing the interesting fact that, despite a decrease in crime rates, prison population numbers were actually increasing. The Watchdog story was based on a report by the Office of Economic & Demographic Research entitled, “Criminal Justice Estimating Conference.”
business-3-1144346-m.jpgThe Numbers Behind the Report

According to the Office of Economic & Demographic Research, a research arm of the Florida Legislature, crime rates across Florida have been on the decrease over the past four years. For example, in 2012, crime decreased by 5.7%, with felonies decreasing 2.6%.

Although one might think that a decrease in the crime rate would result in a corresponding decrease in the prison population, that is apparently not the case. According to the report released last week, the number of incarcerated Floridians rose .8% last year.


The Potential Causes

The exact reasons of the disparity between crimes rates and the prison population in Florida is not known. However, a member of the research team that put together the study offered some insight as to why this may be the case. In short, she explained that it may have to do with “how counties are prosecuting or judging people who end up in prison.”
Over the past few years, the Florida Legislature has implemented several laws and programs that take a hard-line approach to crime. For instance, recently Florida implemented what is known as a zero tolerance policy in schools. The policy was designed to better protect students and faculty members in Florida schools by taking a hard-line approach to any weapons offense or threat of violence in or around a school. The punishments for these offenses can range from long-term suspension, to automatic expulsion, to criminal charges resulting in lengthy prison sentences. By punishing the offenses more seriously, the “zero tolerance” policy places more juveniles and adults in the criminal justice system.

The Future of Incarceration in Florida

By most accounts, the future of the prison population in Florida will continue to increase, regardless of what the crime rate does. In fact, the study cited above estimates that the state’s prison population for 2014-15 will increase 2.7% and then another 1.4% in the following year.

Have You Been Charged with a Criminal Offense in Florida?

If you have recently been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Florida, you need to make sure you give the situation the serious attention it deserves. Between the new laws increasing the seriousness of certain offenses and the repeat-offenders laws that are currently on the books, prosecutors are taking a “tough on crime” approach. That means that you need to ensure you have an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney standing by your side throughout the process.

The Forbess Law Firm is an aggressive Jacksonville criminal defense firm dedicated to zealously representing its clients who have been charged with all kinds of criminal offenses. No matter how serious the charge or how strong the State’s evidence may seem, there is always something that can be done. Click here to contact the Forbess Law Firm online, or call 904-634-0900 today to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

See More Blog Posts:

Hollywood Police Officer Charged with DWI, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, November 12, 2013.

Intoxilyzer 8000 Evidence Called into Question, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, November 7, 2013.