Governor DeSantis believes that keeping Florida safe is one of his most important responsibilities as Governor. Keeping criminals off the streets and protecting our communities is a top priority. And thanks to the hard work of Florida’s law enforcement officers, Florida is safer now than it has been in many years and our crime rate is at a 47-year low. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget builds on this success by making significant investments in public safety.

Expanding and Enhancing Florida’s Crime Databases

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is responsible for maintaining a variety of databases that law enforcement uses daily to solve crimes. Many of these resources are also accessible to the public, which helps keep Floridians safe. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget invests more than $16.5 million to expand and enhance these databases, including: $1.5 million to complete the upgrades to the Sexual Offender and Predator Registry; $11.8 million to continue the transition to incident-based crime reporting (FIBRS); $1.2 million to complete the DNA database expansion; and $2 million to centralize criminal justice data and make it more transparent to the public.

Protecting Law-Abiding Gun Owners While Ensuring Only Legally Qualified Purchasers Can Buy Firearms

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget also includes over $700,000 and 11 positions to address the increased workload of FDLE’s Firearm Purchase Program. This funding will help ensure that only those who are lawfully qualified to purchase a firearm are able to do so.

Ensuring Compliance for Inmate Health Care

The Department of Corrections is responsible for the care and supervision of more than 95,000 inmates. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget includes $137.5 million which ensures compliance with requirements for inmate health care. This includes: $13.9 million for the increased costs of pharmaceuticals; $37 million to better-treat inmates with Hepatitis C; and $86.6 million for enhancements to contracted inmate health services.

The Governor has directed the secretary of the Department of Corrections to renegotiate existing agreements and to explore all options to reduce inmate healthcare costs.

Complying with Inmate Mental Health Service Requirements

The Governor’s recommended budget also provides $40.5 million and 573 positions to better serve inmates with mental illness per pending litigation. These funds will be used to consolidate and renovate mental health facilities, and increase the medical and security staff to ensure that inmates with mental health issues are provided prompt and effective treatment in a rehabilitative environment.

Treating Disabled Inmates Appropriately

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget provides over $1.7 million and 12 positions to better serve inmates with disabilities. These funds will be used to provide Americans with Disabilities Act modifications to current facilities; and lighting notification systems, message boards, and sign language interpreters for hearing impaired inmates.

Safer Correctional Facilities

The Governor’s budget provides $14.5 million to make critical repairs and renovations to correctional and juvenile facilities. This investment in Florida’s infrastructure not only enhances the safety and security of Florida’s correctional and juvenile officers, inmates, and youth, but will also result in long-term energy and maintenance savings.

Improving Residential Programs for At-Risk Youth

Recent reforms at the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) have culminated in the lowest juvenile arrest rate in more than 43 years. To build on this success, the Governor’s recommended budget provides $7.5 million to add an additional 84 beds in DJJ’s residential facilities. The additional beds will allow youth to be placed in an appropriate residential treatment facility while minimizing the time spent in a more costly detention center that has limited treatment services. The budget also includes more than $4.3 million to improve staffing and evidence-based services in its residential facilities.

Increasing Accountability in Juvenile Facilities

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget provides $1.1 million and 10 positions to improve contract monitoring and oversight of DJJ programs. These funds will help ensure that DJJ’s residential programs are providing effective treatment services to youth and quickly correcting deficiencies if and when they are found. They will also help to improve education services for at-risk youth.

At-Risk Youth Programs and Prevention Services

Governor DeSantis recognizes that effective prevention programs reduce the likelihood that a child will have future involvement with the juvenile justice system. Recent investments in such programs have played a critical role in reducing juvenile arrest rates to the lowest in 43 years. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget recommends more than $31 million to fund prevention programs for at-risk youth. The budget includes funding for the following programs: About Face Program– $1.25 million to provide summer and after-school life preparation programs; Forward March Program – $750,000 to provide job readiness services at selected Florida armories for Work and Gain Economic Self-Sufficiency recipients and other qualifying young adults; and Youth ChalleNGe Program – $6.1 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. Florida Jobs ChalleNGe - $4 million to provide life, educational, and employment skills in a military-based environment to at-risk youth that range in age from 16-18. Mentoring Initiatives -$7.2 million for the Department of Education to contract with mentoring programs throughout the State. Contracted Prevention Funding for DJJ $12.3 million for DJJ to contract with evidence-based prevention programs, such as Prodigy, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Outward Bound, PACE, and SNAP.

Better Supervision for Delinquent Youth

The Governor’s recommended budget also includes more than $3.2 million to improve the supervision of delinquent youth. These funds will ensure that youth who are awaiting adjudication while in the community are better supervised, which will keep communities safer and lower the chances of re-offense.

Enhancing Services for Crime Victims

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget also includes funding that will improve services for victims of crime. This includes providing the Department of Legal Affairs $500,000 and 7 positions to better respond to victims and resolve their compensation claims more efficiently. It also includes more than $250,000 and 4 positions to ensure victim services grants are properly administered.

Improving Court Services

The Governor’s budget also invests in the State Court System. It provides $315,000 to upgrade and expand Florida’s Problem-Solving Court database, which will result in better services to those participating in drug, mental health, and veteran’s courts. The budget also provides approximately $200,000 to continue the development and expansion of the “Do It Yourself Florida” project, which assists pro se litigants in drafting and filing court documents.

Problem-Solving Courts

Problem-solving courts, such as drug courts and mental health courts, address the root causes of justice system involvement through specialized dockets, multidisciplinary teams, and a non-adversarial approach. These courts use evidence-based treatment and increased judicial supervision to provide individualized interventions for participants, which reduces recidivism. The Governor’ recommended budget provides more than $8.9 million to continue the operation of problem-solving courts throughout the State.

Veterans Treatment Courts are used to divert veterans with mental health and substance abuse treatment needs from the criminal justice system. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget reflects Governor DeSantis’s support of Veterans Treatment Courts and recommends more than $1.4 million to continue funding these courts throughout Florida.

Supporting Military and their Families

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget recommends $22.5 million for Florida’s military presence and families, which funds the State’s support of military research and development. This includes the following: $2 million for the Florida Defense Support Task Force; $1.6 million for the Defense Infrastructure Program; $3 million for military base protection, including additional security measures for National Guard armories; $2.5 million for National Guard armories; $1.7 million for armory maintenance; $4.2 million to support Florida National Guardsmen seeking higher education degrees; $7.3 million to support scholarships for children and spouses of deceased or disabled veterans. $100,000 for search and rescue vessels for National Guardsmen to use during storm-related missions and duties; and $133,000 for protective equipment to be used by National Guardsmen during deployment