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Task force would seek to remake Florida’s criminal justice system

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Florida’s state lawmakers increasingly are embracing criminal justice reform policies that break with the state’s “tough on crime” past. But a sea change could be in the works. But a sea change could be in the works. Last year, Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and the GOP-controlled legislature approved one of the most far-reaching civil asset forfeiture reforms in the country, repealed a 10-20-life mandatory minimum sentencing law, and expanded health care delivery for mentally ill inmates. Mental health advocates say…

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The Shame of Florida: Options on the felon vote

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(Part two of two) In the first part of this article, I focused on the origins of the felon vote in Florida and the consequences it creates for both those convicted of a felony and on the Florida taxpayers. This part will focus on the various options concerning the felon vote. We know that over a quarter of all voters who have lost the franchise due to a felony conviction reside in Florida. We know that over 10 percent of…

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The Shame of Florida: How Florida’s felon vote is ruining lives and costing taxpayers

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(First of two parts) Over a half-century ago, CBS News and journalist Edward R. Murrow aired a documentary about Florida’s migrant farmworkers called “Harvest of Shame.” Murrow documented the long hours and low wages of the migrant farmers, along with the poor health care, housing and education for the migrant families. A similar documentary could be done today focusing on the shame of Florida’s criminal justice policies that makes many crimes felonies that other states consider misdemeanors. As a result…

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Legal escape for Florida’s ‘Prison Houdini’ could be blocked

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A man known as a “prison Houdini” for a series of escapes might have his first legal exit thwarted after Florida’s parole commission voted Thursday to reconsider his upcoming release in a case that began 36 years ago when the then-teenager was convicted of stealing the very tools his father left him in a will. If parole is rescinded, Mark DeFriest, 55, faces the possibility of dying in prison in a case his advocates say is a prime example of…

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Today on Context Florida: Clinton’s speaking fees, forfeiture laws, fixing prisons and technical skills

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Today on Context Florida: Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem need to stop obsessing about young women who won’t vote for Hillary Clinton, says Martin Dyckman. There’s a better use for their time and energy if they want her to be elected president. That’s to take Clinton by the shoulders, shake her until her teeth rattle, and scream into her ear, “Who do you think you are? Marie Antoinette?” But here’s what Clinton did say when asked why she took $675,000 from…

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