Read more about Senate Bill 1334 recently sponsored by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Fort Lauderdale, Florida) and the house counterpart, House Bill 917, sponsored by Rep. Ari Porth (D-Coral Springs, Florida). The bills seek to abolish all minimum mandatory requirements but would leave the current fines in place which range from $25,000 to $500,000. The proposed legislation requires substance abuse treatment and allows for reentry programs for certain non-violent drug offenders.
The current system is particularly unjust for individuals with substance abuse problems who are in possession of prescription medication (without a valid prescription). Even one bottle of pills can trigger the minimum mandatory sentences. In many of these cases, the possession may have been intended only for personal use, although those individual are now automatically deemed to be "drug traffickers" under the current statutory scheme. The legislation applies not only to prescription medication, but also to common street drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
Under the proposed legislation judges would have more control to fashion reasonable sentences depending on the particular facts of the case instead of warehousing non-violent offenders for decades in Florida's Prison System. Creating more reasonable sentences will also save the tax payers millions of dollars and allow those resources to be put to better use in fighting substance abuse issues.
Read more from Families Against Mandatory Minimums on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 12:25pm
Twin bills filed in the Florida Legislature this week propose doing away with mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking in controlled substances, which currently range anywhere from three to 25 years depending on the weight of the substance.Read a recent article about this proposed legislation: http://slee.blogs.ocala.com/10800/mandatory-minimums-focus-of-new-bills/?tc=ar