Newly implemented changes to Florida’s criminal justice system were announced by the nonprofit REFORM Alliance, which was founded by award-winning recording artist Meek Mill, Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, business mogul Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, and other influential figures from business, philanthropy, and entertainment. The new changes went into effect on July 1.
The nonpartisan measure, which was supported by REFORM and its allies in the Florida Safety Coalition, was overwhelmingly approved by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. As a result, changes have been made to Florida’s probation system.
The new education and workforce credits will cut probation terms for those in Florida who pursue a GED, degree, vocational certification, and/or retain full-time job. They will be available to people on state probation and community control. For every six-month period during which they work an average of 30 hours per week, individuals are eligible to receive 30 days off from their supervision periods. For each educational task successfully completed, they can additionally subtract 60 days from their probationary period.
Florida will also establish a new, permanent system for statewide remote reporting, giving counties a method to engage with probationers and their supervision officers in ways that will support their rehabilitation objectives and successful reintegration back into society.
Together, these policies will support probationers in engaging in community-safety initiatives and reducing technical violations, which fuel the probation-to-prison pipeline. Tens of thousands of people will benefit from the new measures when they successfully finish their probation terms, which will safely lower Florida’s supervision population.
“Improving public safety isn’t a partisan issue,” REFORM CEO Robert Rooks said. “The new law means more people on probation will pursue education and employment, producing better outcomes for themselves and their families. That will lead to safer and stronger communities for all. This is a huge win.”
“At a time when our politics are increasingly polarized and we see crime and public safety becoming a wedge issue in campaigns, lawmakers from both parties in Florida showed that supervision reform can be smart on crime and good for communities,” said Jessica Jackson, Chief Advocacy Officer & Chief Operations Officer of REFORM Alliance, which is a member of the Florida Safety Coalition. “REFORM Alliance thanks Governor DeSantis, our champions Rep. Koster and Senator Perry, and the entire Florida legislature for their leadership. The unanimous support of both the Florida House and Senate demonstrate just how urgent these changes are; encouraging redemption, education, and employment for people all across the state.”
“I am thrilled that SB752 has taken effect,” said REFORM Founding Partner and Arnold Ventures Co-founder Laura Arnold. “This law will have a profound impact on both probationers and the community supervision system. By incentivizing and rewarding people who pursue work and education with shorter probation terms, we will safely reduce the scale of Florida’s probation system and help to change lives. The expanded opportunity for remote reporting, which was championed by probation officers themselves, will also help Florida’s workforce and economy by reducing the burden of in-person visits and more appropriately aligning supervision resources to where they are needed most. I have deep gratitude to the lawmakers and our coalition for making this happen.”
“This new law will help more than 150,000 on probation in Florida by removing barriers to their success and rewarding them for doing well,” said Michael Rubin, Fanatics CEO and Co-chair of REFORM Alliance. “Not only was this unanimously supported by members of the Florida legislature, but probation officers, business owners, and community service providers all joined us in the effort to pass this new law. This is going to safely reduce the number of people on supervision, improve lives and increase community stability across the state.”
The new law builds on the legislative successes of REFORM, which now total 14 measures in nine states and assist in removing people from the probation-to-prison pipeline and into stable communities with access to opportunities for health, wellness, and employment. More than 650,000 people nationwide now have a way out of the system thanks to REFORM.