Gov. Jeb Bush and other Florida leaders celebrated when the Florida Supreme Court upheld the state’s minimum-sentencing law that requires tough prison terms for three-time offenders, the Orlando Sentinel reports. New Florida House Speaker Allan Bense touted the law in his first official speech, saying the so-called “three strikes” law has cut the state’s crime rate.
Florida is out of step with at least two dozen other states that have reconsidered or rolled back mandatory-sentencing laws in recent years — often led by fiscally conservative Republicans worried about skyrocketing prison costs. “Every state has had a budget deficit, and there were quite a few conservative governors and legislatures who said, ‘We can’t just keep doing this,’ ” said Malcolm Young of The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group. Mandatory sentencing laws have raised prison costs in Florida, but no serious moves have been made to change those mandatory sentencing laws.