Florida taxpayers save cash as fewer ex-cons return to prison

5:48 PM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - The revolving door in Florida prisons for many ex-convicts is slowing down and that's saving tax dollars, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

The department reports fewer inmates are returning to prison because of repeat offenses. The number of ex-cons who ended up back in prison dropped five percent between 2003 and 2008.

Corrections Secretary Michael Crews says the reoffending rate is down to about 27 percent.

He says the Corrections Department is doing a better job of providing educational, vocational and substance abuse treatment programs so inmates are better prepared to get a job when they're released.

Crews say that translates into fewer crimes and victims in Florida, as well as savings for taxpayers.

"A one percent reduction in recidivism would mean a cost avoidance of nearly $19 million over five years. It boils down to this: the drop in recidivism means that every Florida taxpayer is saving money. It also means, probably the most important factor, less victims and quite honestly you can't put a dollar and cents on the number of victims when you think of the trauma and the severity of the crimes that most of them are subjected to."

Gov. Rick Scott says lowering the reoffending rate in Florida has saved the state $44 million. The Department of Corrections intends to use some of that cash to provide bonuses to employees.

Dave Heller

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