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Florida Sheriffs Research Institute Releases Report on Sentencing Repeat Offenders of Violent and Serious Crime in Florida

December 01, 2021

Today, the Florida Sheriffs Research Institute released their latest report entitled, The Prisoner Release Reoffender: Sentencing Repeat Offenders of Violent and Serious Crime in Florida. The purpose of this report is to familiarize readers with the history, sentencing provisions and use of Florida’s Prisoner Release Reoffender (PRR) Law.

“The Sheriffs of Florida have created proven policies and best practices that have stood the test of time, and many of those have led to our historically low crime level,” said Levy County Sheriff and FSA President Bobby McCallum. “Among those tools are the Prison Release Reoffender law, which keeps the most dangerous repeat offenders off our streets and contributes significantly to public safety.”

The primary goal of criminal sentencing is to maintain public safety. Florida and the nation’s rising crime rate in the late 1980s and early 1990s prompted the state Legislature to address the issue of repeat offenders. Following the passage of Florida’s PRR Law, which was enacted in 1997, the state’s violent crime rate for the next decade decreased at a much higher rate and has continued to see a decrease in violent crime to date.

“Reverting to outdated policies that allow for releasing habitual offenders early is a first step toward a return of the high crime that sparked Florida’s Legislature to enact the Prison Release Reoffender law in the first place,” stated Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Committee Chair of the Florida Sheriffs Research Institute. “Mandatory sentence policies targeting the most dangerous, repeat offenders are used in every state, and these policies are a key factor to Florida’s low crime rate.”

The sentencing provisions of PRR do not apply to less serious misdemeanors or infractions, even when committed repeatedly. Instead, PRR Law focuses on individuals who have previously committed one or more serious, felony crimes for which they served time in a state or federal prison. The offender must then commit or attempt to commit another felony within three years of their release from prison for the prior offense. If the defendant is found guilty for the second crime, which must be a forcible felony, during the three-year window, the court must impose the statutory maximum sentence for the crime.

“It’s important to remember that inmates sentenced to PRR are not first-time, low-level offenders, and Florida is not alone in its efforts to address habitual offenders who repeatedly commit violent and serious crimes. The Prisoner Release Reoffender law is working, and it helps to protect everyone in the Sunshine State,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and FSA Legislative Committee Chair.

To read the full report, please visit www.dev.flsheriffs.org/research.

 

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Florida Sheriffs Association: 
The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of the Sheriffs of Florida, approximately 3,000 business leaders and 100,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has steadfastly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state's law enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida’s public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs' Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services. Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA has established and funded the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches with facilities throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. It has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Association, visit www.dev.flsheriffs.org.