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Florida fails to address police reform bills in most recent legislative session

On Behalf of | May 24, 2021 | Uncategorized

Although the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida proposed more than 24 criminal justice reform measures, the state House or Senate heard none of these ideas during the March and April legislative sessions. These bills, along with others the legislators heard but did not pass, meant to address the crises impacting the Florida prison system.

Learn more about these failed reforms and the next steps for advocates of a fair criminal justice system for Florida residents.

Measures proposed by the Black Caucus

The reforms drafted by the Black Caucus included two dozen civil liberties measures, including prohibited use of a no-knock warrant for a suspect facing a misdemeanor charge. The legislature also failed to hear a proposed ban on the purchase of surplus military equipment by state and local law enforcement agencies in Florida.

Other denied measures

The Florida House and Senate also failed to approve bills proposing:

  • A ban on capital punishment for offenders who had a diagnosis of severe mental illness at the time of the crime
  • Shorter sentences for elderly, seriously ill and pregnant inmates, as well as for mothers of young children
  • An easier path to expungement for victims of sex trafficking who have criminal records for prostitution charges

Despite these losses for criminal justice reform, the legislature did pass some measures that will improve Florida’s issues in this area. For example, Senate Bill 274 will provide fast-tracked expungement for juveniles who complete diversion programs in lieu of prison. Another provision that passed, Gail’s Law, will track rape kits through a comprehensive Florida database.