“Why do you think so many people are moving to Florida, something like 800 people a day?”
John Contini, South Florida and Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer:
“It’s not unrelated to why we have so many people locked up in Florida, and why we now lead the world in prison population. The reasons are really quite simple:
People want to come to Florida to get some sun and fun, and after a little vacation experience — which is never reflective of any sense of reality or what life would be like if they were actually living here, they think of starting their life over and moving to sunny South Florida; but like the rest of us, they don’t learn what the experts say until it’s too late, that a “geographical cure” never works.
Emerson said it best in his famous book, “Self Reliance,” specifically, “Traveling is a fool’s paradise; your sad, relentless self wakes up with you wherever you go. Stay at home with the cause.” Soon, after they arrive here in Florida, the former vacationers realize that a lot of things are happening here that are not so visible behind the glare of all the rays, beaches, boats and palm trees. Like what, you might ask?
How about all the dozens of unrelated police agencies, jails and prisons, responsible now for incarcerating more of Florida’s citizens than those jailed per capita in any other State in the nation — yes, recently surpassing even California, Texas and New York in its percentages of locked up citizens; and for that matter, Florida now leads the entire world in per capita prison population, now that the United States has surpassed China in these stats.
Our new arrivals have a few drinks to self medicate after discovering that their new reality is quite different from their earlier memorable Florida vacation, they get in their cars and drive back to their new “home,” and little do they know, but the DUI Task Force teams are hunting them down like dogs. Even if they make it to their house, they learn soon enough that most misdemeanors back in their home State, have been upgraded to felonies right here in “paradise.” Welcome to sunny South Florida.
The comments below have been sent to us by Ron McAndrew, a Prison and Jail Consultant from Dunnellon, FL:
Good morning John
Thanks for sharing this great overview. I’d add just one small ingredient and
that would be the ‘profit’ of locking folks up. Here in Florida a good number of
the prisons, jails, food service operations, medical operations, a political
organization called PRIDE, and a number of other entrepreneurs have bought their
way into our state budget. It boils down to the simple fact that the more we
lock up, the more money ‘somebody’ is getting from the taxpayer.
Have a blessed day