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Changing Corrections Policy by Indirection - Bureaucratic Politics and the Politics of Cost (From Political Science of Criminal Justice, P 211-222, 1983, Stuart Nagel et al, ed. - See NCJ-87705)

NCJ Number
R Handberg
Date Published
Florida's short-term efforts to deal with prison overcrowding resulting from punitive legislative policy have been costly, making the alternatives of probation and parole appealing over the long term because of their lower cost.
Florida has moved in several areas to increase the use of mandatory sentences and other procedures aimed at increasing the severity and certainty of punishment. This has in turn produced prison overcrowding and associated deteriorating conditions that have prompted Federal and State judges to require the State to deal with its overcrowding problem. Short-term measures have included the early release of prisoners and the refusal by corrections officials to take more prisoners into overcrowded facilities. The State has funded and begun construction of four new prisons and significant expansion of three other prisons to handle the overflow problem created by the State's sentencing policies. This capital expenditure has stimulated a greater willingness by legislators to consider lower cost approaches to corrections. If the probation and parole officers are successful in their efforts to gain funds to expand their programs, an appeal based primarily upon the cost factor, then Florida corrections policy will dramatically change. While criminal justice policy would probably continue to be punitive in rhetoric due to the political climate, it would be quasi-rehabilitative in operation for cost reasons.