| Crime |

Rick Scott Vetoes Bill to Give Non-Violent Drug Addicts Treatment Instead of Jail

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

After all time wasted in Tally by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff this session -- from the wrongheaded, like bills to bring casinos to Miami and move Dade's reaches further into the Everglades, to the absurd, like her plan making it legal to dye animals crazy colors -- it's somehow poetic justice that her one truly common-sense proposal has now been vetoed by Rick Scott. With almost no opposition, Bogdanoff had marshaled through a bill that would move non-violent drug offenders out of jail and into treatment after serving half their sentences. Scott axed it, complaining it was soft on crime.

"Justice to victims of crime is not served when a criminal is permitted to be released early from a sentence," Scott wrote in his veto.

But justice is clearly served by keeping drug addicts behind bars instead of in intense therapy, so when they get out they'll almost certainly reoffend, right Gov.?

For once, Bogdanoff hits the nail on the head.

"He said it was a 'public safety' issue. No it's not," she tells the Miami Herald. "These are non-violent drug offenders."

Bogdanoff had been pushing for the reform for six years. Her bill this year sailed through both chambers -- which, as the Herald notes, are packed with Republicans usually desperate not to look "soft on crime."

The Fort Lauderdale Republican sold them on the plan as a cost-saving measure, though. The state saves money by turning drug addicts into productive citizens -- not to mention by moving non-violent inmates out of custody and into treatment.

Her plan passed the House 112-4 and the Senate 80-0.

Scott, though, wasn't on board. In his veto, he writes that he was troubled that the law would create an exception to Florida's 85-percent rule, which mandates that inmates serve at least that proportion of their sentences before they can be released.

Critics say the rule is the prime reason Florida's prisons are so overstuffed, but Scott says Bogdanoff's plan would "creating an unwarranted exception to the rule."

But hey, it's not like Scott has some financial interest in keeping Florida's prisons stuffed full of non-violent offenders. (Ahem.)

It's not all doom and gloom for Bogdanoff, though. Yesterday, Scott signed her animal dyeing bill into law.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.