Florida Practices for Drug Offenses Prove Questionable

Across the nation, drug offenders make up the largest group of federal inmates, based on the crime committed. This type of crime is considered "victimless" because it often does not involve another person who is directly harmed by the drug crime, but states such as Florida are nevertheless requiring these inmates to spend more time behind bars. The war on drugs is responsible for the heightened incarceration rates and the increased prison terms.

The Study

A recent study conducted by the Pew Center on the States found that there has been a nationwide increase in the amount of time spent in jail since 1990. Florida in particular is the leader with an increase of 166 percent. The study also found that little public benefit was derived from this increase.

The Results In The Community

The results of the study showed that the cost of this increase is becoming a large burden on state budgets. It costs states approximately $10 billion a year to lengthen these sentences. The study further found that the longer sentences are not leading to a reduction in crime; however, states that are implementing shorter sentences are seeing a reduction in crime.

The Implications

In short, the practices being implemented mean more jail time, more costs and fewer results. It is of utmost importance that individuals charged with drug crimes put up a strong defense in court in order to avoid being caught up in law enforcement's rush to incarcerate. Otherwise, a good portion of their next several years could be spent behind bars, along with other long-term consequences to their careers and personal lives.

If you have been accused of a drug offense, talking to a defense attorney near you may be the difference between a long jail sentence and a more reasonable settlement.