criminal justice

Gerard Albert III / WLRN

Broward County hasn’t had a new State Attorney in 43 years. In June, 76 year-old Michael Satz said he plans to retire next year after prosecuting confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz . 

On Thursday night a candidate who’s calling for a different vision of the job held a rally at Tarpon River Brewing in Fort Lauderdale.

In a packed brewery, Joe Kimok got loud applause when he told the crowd he wanted to end mass incarceration. This is a central element in a larger wave of progressive policies that state and district attorneys around the country are campaigning on. 

Gerard Albert III / WLRN News

While barbers swept fallen hair from the floor of Fweago Cutz barber shop, guests and volunteers set up folding chairs and a projector.

After the lights were off and the crowd was seated, Jefferson Noel pressed play.

The community organizer rented out the barbershop to screen the new Netflix series, "When They See Us." More importantly, he set up a candid panel discussion with former public defendants and activists in the community to discuss the issues that come up in the story.

Cat Gloria/ WUFT News

Florida lawmakers abandoned a proposal that would have allowed thousands of nonviolent offenders in the state to be released from behind bars sooner in their prison terms, a plan that Gov. Ron DeSantis and law enforcement groups had criticized.

Sherrilyn Cabrera / WLRN

Activists are calling for additional action against Officer Alejandro Giraldo of the Miami-Dade Police Department, who was caught on camera last month showing excessive force towards Dyma Loving, a 26-year-old black woman from South Miami-Dade.

Activists from two human rights organizations delivered petitions with over 50,000 signatures to State Attorney Katherine Rundle’s office Tuesday demanding that Giraldo be fired and charged with assault. 

A provision in the Senate’s big criminal justice reform bill could make a big impact early on, if signed into law. That impact would come in the form of fewer people incarcerated, and significant savings for the state.

Florida's prisons have a health care problem.

The state's aging prison population and the high cost of treating inmates with debilitating diseases are behind a surge in spending on health care in recent years.


Daniel Rivero / WLRN

In collaboration with 70 Million, a national podcast that examines criminal justice reforms around the country, WLRN looked at the mechanisms of Miami-Dade County's Criminal Mental Health Project.

Florida was among the first states to pass mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws in 1979.

The Legislature loosened those requirements in 1993, then reinstated them six years later.  Now, a sweeping proposal of criminal justice reforms in Tallahassee would again make changes.

The Education Fund / Courtesy

Senator Jeff Brandes has been a leading voice in the Florida Legislature calling for drastic changes to the state’s criminal justice system. In late January, Sen. Brandes filed and sponsored Senate Bill 642, “Florida First Step Act,” a new law that would aim to reduce criminal sentences by allowing judges to depart from mandatory minimums for drug trafficking charges. The bill is modeled on federal legislation signed by President Donald Trump last year. Sen.

The Future Of Prison Reform In Florida

Feb 10, 2019
Darrin Klimek/Getty Images

Attempts to reform the way criminals are sentenced and how much time they spend behind bars have made little headway in the Florida legislature in recent years.

But following the passage of federal criminal justice reform in December, it seems state legislators from both parties may be ready to take a new look at reforming the state’s prison system.

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

The fall semester is over for students across South Florida—and at Exchange for Change, it's been a particularly meaningful semester. 

The program teaches writing and fosters literacy within South Florida prisons, and earlier this month, it hosted a formal graduation ceremony at Everglades Correctional Institution.

There were no caps or gowns, just the same blue uniform of every other day, but graduates were called up to a microphone to read their work to the audience of fellow inmates, guards and civilian teachers and visitors.

Updated on Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET

The Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would reduce federal sentences for certain drug offenses and prepare prisoners for life after incarceration.

If the bill becomes law following passage in the House on Wednesday, a major reason will be the support it received from a surprising booster: President Trump.

Daniel Rivero / WLRN

In a courtroom on Tuesday morning, Andre Gonzales was granted another chance at life.

After serving more than twelve years for a murder outside of a nightclub in Liberty City, prosecutors dismissed all charges against Gonzales. The outcome was the culmination of an effort by the Medill Justice Project, a student journalism project based out of Northwestern University in Chicago.

ACLU

A new study looks at the disparate treatment of black adult criminal defendants in Miami-Dade County.

“Unequal treatment: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Miami-Dade Criminal Justice,” finds black Hispanics and black non-Hispanics are overrepresented in local jails and face harsher penalties as they make their way through the court system.

Daniel Rivero / WLRN News

Jason Bellows was a Florida inmate on his way out of prison and back into the real world. 

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