February 7, 2022

Seizing the Opportunity: How Florida Can Leverage ARPA Funds Toward Criminal Justice Reform

Executive Summary

Florida’s prison system stands as the third largest in the country. In the past decade it has experienced a host of challenges, ranging from staff shortages, overcrowding, multi-million dollar lawsuits, escalating violence, budget deficits, inadequate physical and mental health care services, and lack of educational programs. With the Department of Corrections (DOC) budget constraints and the Legislature’s passive approach to long-overdue reforms that would safely reduce the prison population and save money to reinvest in other meaningful programs, prison conditions have continued to deteriorate. The state must do more to provide relief to DOC and expand programming options for incarcerated individuals. The funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) can assist with this goal.

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