New group pushing Fla. criminal justice overhaul

Published On: Oct 03 2012 11:34:46 AM EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

A diverse group of organizations is pushing for changes in Florida's criminal justice system.

They announced the formation of the Florida Smart Justice Alliance on Tuesday.

It's dedicated to developing consensus on strategies for enhancing public safety, reducing costs and preventing low-level offenders from returning to crime.

Members range from business organizations such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida to prisoner re-entry providers such as Bridges of America.

The alliance is part of a growing national movement questioning harsh laws passed to get tough on crime. They've put more people, largely low-level offenders, in prison at a high cost to taxpayers without necessarily improving public safety.

Floridians are paying $2.1 billion annually on almost 100,000 inmates - more than twice as many as in 1990.

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