Florida officials are promoting a $21.8 million proposal designed to jail repeat offenders who violate their probation, the Orlando Sentinel reports. “As the people’s governor, it is my job to keep Floridians safe, and I take that responsibility very seriously,” said Gov. Charlie Crist. The legislation would require offenders convicted of violent felonies who violate terms of their probation to return to jail until a court determines whether they pose a danger to the community.
The measure, which gives judges more authority to impose maximum prison sentences for violators considered dangerous, is projected to require prison space for an additional 1,352 inmates and cost $161.8 million during the next three years. Critics said it might impose overly harsh sentences on probationers for minor violations. “It really puts an unreasonable hammer over offenders,” said Larry Spalding of the American Civil Liberties Union. “You can’t just put people away for a long time. The price is too high.”