criminal justice

Courtesy of Florida International University

Students and faculty stood up and clapped as keynote speaker Yusef Salaam, one of the members of the exonerated “Central Park Five,” walked on stage at the Graham Center Ballrooms at Florida International University. 

“Right now we are on the cusp of everything that Dr. King talked about in the ‘I Have A Dream’ speech,” said Salaam, the keynote speaker at the 29th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Commemorative Breakfast.

DONNA E. NATALE PLANAS / Miami Herald file photo

National civil rights and immigration lawyers are calling on state and federal officials to mandate complete oversight of all adult immigration detention facilities in Florida following a scathing report by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Americans for Immigrant Justice released Monday.

The 104-page report highlights “substandard” conditions at Florida’s four adult detention centers — Krome Service Processing Center South Miami-Dade, Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach, Monroe County Detention Center in Key West and Glades County Detention Center in Moore Haven, Fla.

As part of efforts to combat illegal immigration, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Department of Corrections are preparing to deputize state correctional officers as federal immigration enforcement agents.

Florida’s prison system, the third largest in the nation, has long faced issues with contraband drugs, yet the state agency that grapples with the problems does not track the number of inmates treated for overdoses.

Kelly was charged Monday in Minnesota with two criminal offenses related to engaging in prostitution with a minor.

The charges were announced at a press conference Monday afternoon by Mike Freeman, the attorney for Hennepin County, an area that includes Minneapolis.

WLRN / Getty Images

This last May was the hottest ever recorded in the Sunshine State. That was followed by higher-than-average temperatures in June and July. The scorching hot temperatures means thousands of inmates across the state are spending what could potentially be a record-breaking summer without access to air conditioning.

The Florida Department of Corrections operates 50 “major facilities” across the state. Only 18 of them have air conditioning in “most of their housing,” according to the department.

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.

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