Article from Reason by C.J. Ciaramella.

Since the “tough on crime” heyday of the ’90s, Florida has rolled back some of its harshest mandatory minimum sentencing laws, but those people sentenced before the law changed are stuck with sentences that are years and—in some cases—decades longer than those given to people convicted of a similar crime today.

A referendum on the ballot in Florida this November could change that, and would be instrumental in reducing Florida’s huge, expensive, and aging prison population.

Amendment 11 would allow the state legislature to retroactively change sentencing laws. The legislature is currently barred from doing so by a more than 100-year-old provision in the state constitution known as the “savings clause.”

Greg Newburn—the director of state policy for FAMM, an advocacy group that opposes mandatory minimum sentencing, and the chair of the Yes on 11 campaign—says FAMM’s support for the amendment essentially comes down to fairness. If the legislature changes the laws, admitting they initially imposed too harsh a penalty, why shouldn’t that admission extend to those directly affected by it?

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons