I have enjoyed co-hosting a weekly radio program on iHeartRadio WFLA Orlando 93.1 FM/540AM and News Talk Florida WHBO across Tampa Bay, called A Neighbor’s Choice. This week I was joined by David Safavian, the General Counsel for American Conservative Union & Deputy Director to ACUF Nolan Center for Justice. David is a fearless advocate nationwide on conservative issues. He has also been a frequent visitor at Florida’s State Capitol where he has spoken to countless legislators and leaders on issues concerning criminal justice reform in Florida.
David and I discussed national and Florida trends in criminal justice reform as well as his thoughts on the apparent “red wave” we are seeing in Florida. We agreed that Florida is a pioneer in various policy innovations. However, where reforming ineffectiveness within the criminal justice system is concerned, Florida is slow to make headway. David aptly stressed “that Florida’s notoriously long sentences have very diminishing returns and although law enforcement is not the issue, Florida Sheriffs have enormous amounts of influence, and little regard to data.”
When asked about the criminal justice issues that Florida leaders should prioritize, David identified Florida’s sentencing structure, which he acknowledged is a heavy lift. Additionally, clean slate reform, coupled with community supervision reform, would also be meaningful reform in Florida, and well overdue. David notes, “if Florida does not address the ramifications of certain convictions, they become life-long economic death penalties.” It is a reality that many of the people Florida incarcerates will eventually leave prison, we need to make sure we are providing resources to make them successful for reentry.
Please join me next Wednesday at 5pm EST on iHeartRadio WFLA Orlando 93.1 FM/540AM and News Talk Florida WHBO across Tampa Bay, when my guests include Jessica Jackson and Erin Haney with REFORM Alliance.