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FL Ends Early Release

On December 9, 1994, Florida Governor Lawton Chiles announced that the state was ending its gain time program.  The program was instituted in 1987 by then Governor Bob Martinez (R) to comply with a federal court order designed to limit Floridas extreme prison overcrowding. Under the program prisoners received up to a two thirds time reduction in their sentences.

Florida state prisoners will still receive time off for good behavior, up to 25 days a month for less serious crimes and 20 days a month for serious crimes. As of September, 1994, Florida prisoners would serve 45 percent of the sentence imposed. This is up from 33% served in 1990.

The change is due mainly to Floridas massive prison building program which will add 4,000 prison beds by December 31, 1994, and another 8,000 beds by July 1, 1995. The enactment of recent sentencing guidelines [See Vol. 5, No. 5] which resulted in reducing the numbers of property and drug offenders sent to prison. In 1990,  4,000 new prisoners a month were entering the state prison system, by December 1994, that had been reduced to 2,000 per month.

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