DOC Sec. Crews Talks Overall Florida Prison Stats, Incarcerated Black Inmates

Jun 5, 2014
Originally published on June 4, 2014 7:23 pm

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews is a bit troubled by some of the overall prison stats, and he's alarmed by some of the African American numbers as well.

Florida has the third largest prison system in the country, housing about 101,000 inmates. Of those, about 48 percent are black.  

That's just some of the stats Crews mentioned at the recent 29th Annual National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community, which took place in Jacksonville.

“The third thing that popped in my mind is that 55 percent of the current African American population incarcerated in our department have had at least one previous stint being incarcerated in our department and the average is at least 2.8 percent times they’ve been in prison,” said Crews.

But, Crews says that’s not the most troubling one.

“There was some good data, but honestly, there was one that stood out like a sore thumb. We can confirm and we know about 64,000 children and youth in this state who have at least one incarcerated parent. And, that’s just the ones that we know about,” added Crews.

Crews says his goal is to build upon his predecessor’s successes and reduce the state’s recidivism rate, or the number of inmates who were released and within three years came back to prison.

“But, I say we’ve got to rethink things on how and what we do in the Department of Corrections. We can’t just be warehouse. And, we have a responsibility to make sure that individuals who are incarcerated with us, that when they are released, we have done everything that we possibly can to successfully enter back into society,” continued Crews.

According to Crews, about 87 percent of those in prison will be released at some point. And, about 150,000 are currently under some sort of community supervision.

Meanwhile, a nationwide study by the Pew Charitable Trusts finds that Florida leads the nation with the highest number of inmates released to their communities without any supervision, after they served their full sentence. The research further showed that’s when offenders are at the greatest risk of committing new crimes. Under Florida law, most offenders are required to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentence.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

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