A diverse coalition including law enforcement and criminal justice advocates came together to increase safety & strengthen communities
NEW YORK, June 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — REFORM Alliance, the nonprofit organization founded by award-winning recording artist Meek Mill; Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin; entrepreneur and business mogul Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter; and other leaders across business, philanthropy, and entertainment, announced today that new reforms to the Sunshine State’s criminal justice system will go into effect Friday, July 1st.
The reforms to Florida’s probation system come after bipartisan legislation championed by REFORM and its partners in the Florida Safety Coalition were unanimously passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis.
Tomorrow, people on state probation and community control in Florida will be eligible to receive new education and workforce credits that will shorten probation terms for those who pursue a GED, degree, or vocational certification and/or maintain full time employment. Individuals can earn 30 days off their supervision terms for each 6-month period in which they work an average of 30 hours per week. They are also eligible to earn 60 days off their probation term for each completed educational activity.
The Sunshine State will also enact a new permanent infrastructure for remote reporting statewide, creating a pathway for counties to enable people on probation and their supervision officers to leverage technology and save transit time by connecting in ways that better support rehabilitative goals and successful reentry into society.
Together, these measures will help people on probation pursue activities that build safer communities and will also reduce technical violations, which contribute to the probation-to-prison pipeline. The new provisions will help tens of thousands of people successfully complete their probation terms and safely reduce the number of people on supervision in Florida.
“Improving public safety isn’t a partisan issue,” REFORM CEO Robert Rooks said. “The new law means more people on probation will pursue education and employment, producing better outcomes for themselves and their families. That will lead to safer and stronger communities for all. This is a huge win.”
“At a time when our politics are increasingly polarized and we see crime and public safety becoming a wedge issue in campaigns, lawmakers from both parties in Florida showed that supervision reform can be smart on crime and good for communities,” said Jessica Jackson, Chief Advocacy Officer & Chief Operations Officer of REFORM Alliance, which is a member of the Florida Safety Coalition. “REFORM Alliance thanks Governor DeSantis, our champions Rep. Koster and Senator Perry, and the entire Florida legislature for their leadership. The unanimous support of both the Florida House and Senate demonstrate just how urgent these changes are; encouraging redemption, education, and employment for people all across the state.”
“I am thrilled that SB752 has taken effect,” said REFORM Founding Partner and Arnold Ventures Co-founder Laura Arnold. “This law will have a profound impact on both probationers and the community supervision system. By incentivizing and rewarding people who pursue work and education with shorter probation terms, we will safely reduce the scale of Florida’s probation system and help to change lives. The expanded opportunity for remote reporting, which was championed by probation officers themselves, will also help Florida’s workforce and economy by reducing the burden of in-person visits and more appropriately aligning supervision resources to where they are needed most. I have deep gratitude to the lawmakers and our coalition for making this happen.”
“This new law will help more than 150,000 on probation in Florida by removing barriers to their success and rewarding them for doing well,” said Michael Rubin, Fanatics CEO and Co-chair of REFORM Alliance. “Not only was this unanimously supported by members of the Florida legislature, but probation officers, business owners, and community service providers all joined us in the effort to pass this new law. This is going to safely reduce the number of people on supervision, improve lives and increase community stability across the state.”
“These changes are a strong step toward strengthening public safety and improving the lives of real people in our communities,” said Desmond Meade, Executive Director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which is a member of the Florida Safety Coalition. “FRRC is a statewide, membership-based organization made up of people with past convictions, our families and those impacted by the criminal legal system. We appreciate that the voices of Florida’s justice-impacted community were included in these probation reforms, and look forward to building on this success in the months and years ahead.”
“SB752 will help Florida’s criminal justice system hold individuals accountable while still offering an achievable path to rehabilitation and redemption,” said David Safavian, General Counsel, American Conservative Union, which is a member of the Florida Safety Coalition. “Education and employment credits for people on probation are some of the most effective ways to incentivize the hard work of self-improvement. This not only reduces crime, but simultaneously expands our workforce and strengthens communities. We applaud Governor DeSantis for signing this legislation into law and thank members of the legislature who championed these improvements.”
The new law builds on REFORM’s legislative accomplishments, which now number 14 bills across 9 states that are helping move people from the probation-to-prison pipeline into stability, wellness, and economic opportunity. REFORM has created a pathway for more than 650,000 people to exit the system across the nation.
In addition to thanking Governor DeSantis, REFORM and the Florida Safety Coalition also collectively recognized Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) and Representative Traci Koster (R-Tampa), who championed these reforms through the legislature, where they received unanimous support in both the House and Senate. The coalition also thanked Senator George Gainer (R-Panama City), Senator Jason Pizzo (D-Miami), and Representative Patt Maney (R-Fort Walton Beach) for their support of these probation reforms.
About REFORM Alliance:
REFORM is committed to transforming probation and parole throughout the United States by changing laws, systems, and culture. The organization is working to replace America’s criminal justice system with a restorative approach that is fair, accountable, and invested in rehabilitation. Our goal is for people to reenter society with dignity, create meaningful pathways to work, and equip them with the tools to succeed, all while making families and communities safer and stronger.
The nonprofit organization was founded in the wake of the #FreeMeek movement by award-winning recording artist Meek Mill; Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin; Arnold Ventures co-founder Laura Arnold; entrepreneur and business mogul Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter; Kraft Group CEO and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft; Galaxy Digital CEO and founder Michael E. Novogratz; Vista Equity Partners founder, chairman, CEO Robert F. Smith; Brooklyn Nets co-owner and philanthropic investor Clara Wu Tsai; and CNN host and activist Van Jones. Veteran criminal justice advocate Robert Rooks leads the organization as CEO, and, most recently in October 2021, philanthropist, pediatrician, and criminal justice reform advocate Dr. Priscilla Chan joined the organization’s Board of Directors.
Learn more and take action with REFORM by visiting https://reformalliance.com/actions/.
About the Florida Safety Coalition:
The Florida Safety Coalition is a citizen-led organization of individuals and groups working to prevent future crime, save taxpayer dollars, and provide all Floridians with more opportunities for success by improving our probation system. Partners include the REFORM Alliance, Faith & Freedom Coalition, American Conservative Union, Alliance for Safety and Justice, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Americans for Prosperity Florida, Florida Policy Institute and Operation New Hope. For more information, visit flsafetycoalition.com.
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SOURCE REFORM Alliance