TALLAHASSEE -- Both Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders have pledged to offset the state's nearly $4 billion budget shortfall with cuts to the prison system.
With that in mind, Florida lawmakers heard testimony Monday from Texas state Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano, who sponsored prison reform legislation in his home state.
The overriding message: Save money by keeping people out of prison with programs that address drug addiction, alcoholism and mental illness.
Madden said prisoners can largely be divided into three categories: Those who will never return, those who are guaranteed to return, and those who won't return if they are enrolled in the right programs. It's the third category that gives you the most bang for your buck, he said, so it's worth it to invest in drug and alcohol treatment programs.
``This is being tough on crime. It's tougher for a drug guy to take drug treatment than to spend a year and a day in jail,'' Madden said. ``If someone's a drug addict, break their habit.'' More... PrisonerPal.com