Florida Leads on Public Safety

Governor DeSantis has made public safety a top priority and has taken bold steps to protect all Floridians. Due to the hard work of Florida’s law enforcement officers, the state’s crime rate decreased in 2019, marking the 49th consecutive year the state has seen a drop in its crime rate. The 2020 statistics have not yet been reported. Governor DeSantis’ budget continues to make necessary investments in our public safety, including funding for safer correctional facilities and evidence-based prevention programs for at-risk youth.

Enhancing Florida’s Crime Databases

FDLE is responsible for maintaining a variety of databases that law enforcement uses daily to investigate crimes and apprehend criminals. The budget invests more than $14.5 million for these databases, including: $11.4 million to continue the transition to incident-based crime reporting (FIBRS); and $3.1 million to centralize criminal justice data and make it more transparent to the public.

Safer Correctional Facilities

Governor DeSantis’ recommended budget includes $31.1 million and 330 FTE to improve staffing levels at the Department of Corrections (FDC). This includes: $5 million to continue a targeted retention pay plan for Correctional Officers, Correctional Probation Officers, and Inspectors that aims to address exceptionally high turnover rates by providing a $500 pay increase for new hires, a $1,000 pay increase at two years of service, and a $1,000 increase at five years of service. $26.1 million and 330 FTE to continue transitioning Correctional Officers from a 12-hour shift to an 8.5-hour shift.

The budget also includes $2.5 million and 7 FTE to make Florida’s correctional facilities safer. This includes: $2 million for security equipment, such as radios, metal detectors, and cameras; and $498,448 and 7 FTE that will allow the Department to more closely monitor gang activity.

Expanding Reentry Programming

Governor DeSantis’ recommended budget includes $4.5 million and 7 FTE to increase inmate reentry programming which includes: $461,099 and 7 FTE to continue increasing the number of academic teachers at the Department of Corrections; $1 million to expand career and technical education programs to better meet the vocational training needs of the inmate population and current job market
demands; and
$3 million to continue the Continuum of Care Program for enhanced offender rehabilitation at private correctional facilities.

Improving Correctional Infrastructure

Governor DeSantis’ recommended budget includes $19 million to make critical repairs and renovations to correctional and juvenile facilities. This investment in Florida’s infrastructure enhances the safety and security of Florida’s correctional and juvenile officers, inmates, and youth.

At-Risk Youth Programs and Prevention Services

Effective prevention programs reduce the likelihood that a child will have future involvement with the juvenile justice system. The budget includes more than $12.4 million to fund prevention programs for at-risk youth. This includes funding for the following programs: Youth Challenge Program$5.8 million for a residential program at Camp Blanding that provides 16–18-year-olds who withdraw or are removed from school with opportunities such as high school credit recovery, career-technical education, and life preparation classes. Mentoring Initiatives$6.6 million for the Department of Education to contract with mentoring programs throughout the state

Increasing Representation of Children

Governor DeSantis’ recommended budget includes $736,186 and 12 FTE to increase Guardian ad Litem staff where the state is experiencing the greatest growth in foster care placements.

Supporting Military and Their Families

Governor DeSantis’ recommended budget provides $24.4 million for Florida’s military presence and families, which funds the State’s support of military research and development. This includes: $2 million for the Florida Defense Support Task Force $1.75 million for the Defense Infrastructure Program $7.2 million for armory maintenance $2 million for military base protection, including additional security measures for National Guard armories $3.1 million to support Florida National Guardsmen seeking higher education degrees $8.4 million to support scholarships for children and spouses of deceased or disabled veterans

Problem-Solving Courts

Problem-solving courts, such as drug courts, mental health courts, and veterans’ courts, address the root causes of the criminal justice system’s involvement through specialized dockets, multidisciplinary teams, and a non-adversarial approach. The budget provides more than $10.8 million to continue the operation of problem-solving courts throughout the state.