An emergency $60 million appropriation to help run Florida prisons is justified, the St. Petersburg Times says. In an editorial, the newspaper endorses Gov. Jeb Bush’s proposal in a state where prisons took in more inmates in June than in any month in the past decade.
The Times says that the state prison population is projected to reach 81,266 by year’s end of the year. The paper notes that Bush seeks no new programs that might divert some inmates admitted for nonviolent drug offenses. He argues: “We undercounted the number of prisoners we anticipated. In order to make sure we don’t release prisoners early or do anything foolish, we need to . . . accelerate our efforts to build more capacity.”
In portraying the only two options as more money or inmates in the streets, the governor is embellishing to make his point, the Times says. Noting that Bush has rejected a call for higher funding in the state’s higher education system, the paper says that state universities were denied $66-million to accommodate eight times as many new students.