Businesses Say "No More Prisons"
Wednesday morning began with 100,552 inmates locked up in Florida prisons.
The state also has or will soon have 11,000 more beds under construction at a cost of almost $1 billion. Florida’s major business groups are saying enough is enough, according to the Capitol News Service.
Businesses say Florida can’t afford any more prisons. Instead, business leaders say non-violent minor drug offenders should be diverted to treatment programs, foreign nationals should be deported and programs that work should be expanded.
“After 30 years of being in the justice system, I’ve seen everything that doesn’t work and it’s most of what we’re doing," said Allison DeFoor, a former prosecutor, judge and sheriff.
DeFoor has been a proponent of the faith and character training at Wakulla Correctional. Here inmates learn music, study the Bible, practice yoga and learn a trade.
“The faith and character-based prisons, for instance, have a single-digit recidivism rate three years post-release," DeFoor said. "The general population is over 33 percent. The difference is hundreds of millions of dollars.”
On the outside, Darryl Simpson was a financial adviser who stole his clients’ money. At Wakulla, he teaches inmates business.
“A lot of these inmates see our American dream as something that is what it is, just a dream," Simpson said. "They can’t see making that into a reality. They have no hope of that. These classes provide them with that hope.”
But right now, that hope is nonexistent in most of the state’s prisons.
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