Sascha Cordner

Phone: (850) 487-3086  x404

Sascha Cordner worked at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both TV and radio, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications.  She has received several  Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Awards with one of her award-winning stories titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink."  Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU.  Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Florida lawmakers are looking into reforms related to mental health and substance abuse issues and how it relates to the state’s child welfare system.

A bill allowing young sexual abuse victims to secretly record their attackers to use as evidence in court cleared its first Senate hearing Monday.

Could Florida do a better job at helping veterans who have mental health issues? Some experts seem think so, like Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Steve Leifman. He’s the chairman of the Florida Supreme Court Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in the Court.

Prison reform is slated to be a big issue this upcoming legislative session, and a re-do of prison health care contracts will be part of the reform efforts. The new Florida Department of Corrections Secretary says she’s making progress on the issue—something lawmakers are keeping an eye on.

A bill that would help identify guardians and guardian advocates for children with developmental disabilities aging out of foster care passed its first committees this week.

Gerry Glynn is the Chief Legal Officer for Community Based Care of North Florida. But, before that, he worked as a law professor and child advocate in 2009. In that role, Glynn says he chaired a committee reviewing the tragic death of a young man by the name of Regis Little.

A group of Florida lawmakers is looking into the mental health issues of inmates in the state’s criminal justice system, and some legislation could be in store based on ideas from different law agencies and the courts.

For Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, he says it’s important all law enforcement agencies get some type of training to account for people with mental health issues called Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT training.

“You see, we’ve got 27 Sheriffs offices that aren’t doing CIT at all; I think we need 100 percent,” said Gualtieri.

Two Florida lawmakers are hoping to revive a bill that failed during the past legislative session repealing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. But, some say the law should remain intact and see it as a waste of time.

It was in late 2013 when Rep. Alan Williams’ (R-Tallahassee) got a five hour hearing for his bill to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

In less than a week, officials will publish a state report asking whether the tragic death of a little girl last month could have been prevented as part of an investigation. But, a panel of lawmakers got a bit of a preview Wednesday.

Hours before Phoebe Jonchuck was thrown over a bridge allegedly by her father, the state’s child abuse hotline received a warning call that went ignored. It’s a call that’s gotten quite a bit of media attention.

A panel of Senators got a series of updates on Florida’s troubled prison system, including the status of use-of-force incidences within the correctional facilities and the inmate health care.

During her presentation to the Senate Criminal justice Committee, newly named Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones detailed some areas she says need improvement.

Attorney General Pam Bondi says she’s on board with a bill making it easier for sexual abuse victims under the age of 17 to privately record their attacker so it can hold up in a Florida court.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get that through because that’s very, very important. But, just know, that it’s a very narrow, narrow field, and only has to do with children and rape victims—not just at the hands of their parents, but any pedophile,” said Bondi, during a recent Associated Press gathering in Tallahassee.

Prison privatization has been a contentious issue in Florida—even costing one Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary his job. But, after the latest DOC head made some candid remarks on the topic, could she now be backtracking?

The two high profile death incidents that occurred in recent months has already spurred a number of changes to Florida’s child welfare agency. That was part of an update two panels in the House and Senate received Thursday as part of a presentation looking at a new law overhauling the agency.

A conservative backed group unveiled their legislative agenda for both the state and national levels Thursday.

Americans for Prosperity CEO Luke Hilgemann says he and his staff have talked to millions of people all over the U.S., including the Sunshine state.

Florida State University President John Thrasher says his position has not changed since the recent filing of a bill allowing people to open carry on public college and university campuses. It’s the same bill Thrasher helped defeat in 2011 when he was a state senator.

In 2011, the testimony of Dr. Robert Cowie, a friend of Thrasher, also helped derail the bill. Just weeks before, Cowie’s daughter, FSU Student Ashley, had been accidentally shot by a rifle and killed at a frat house.

Should the Florida Supreme Court or the state Legislature have the power to shift the burden of proof to a defendant or the state prosecutor in a Stand Your Ground case? That question was recently before the high court as well as the Legislature earlier this year. So, could that come back into play again next legislative session?

The Case Before The Court

Bringing stability and consistency to the troubled Florida Department of Corrections is at the forefront of several lawmakers’ and prison reform stakeholders’ minds as the 2015 legislative session draws near. And, the discussion may start at the top.

That’s especially after Governor Rick Scott still has to name a permanent head to lead the troubled agency—after Scott’s third Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary recently resigned.

Florida’s new House Speaker and Senate President helped launch a pilot parenting program in Tallahassee Wednesday.

Brevard State Attorney Phil Archer says it’s not unheard of for parents not to know what rights they have when disciplining their kids or how to hold them accountable.

Governor Rick Scott is weighing in on the troubles surrounding the state’s prison system. The Florida Department of Corrections has been in the news lately for prison firings, allegations of inmate abuse, and the latest: threatening to cancel their contract with private inmate health care provider.

During a recent stop in Jacksonville, Scott told reporters he’s aware of the problems in the system and he says Corrections’ Secretary Mike Crews is taking care of it.

State child welfare officials are looking into what went wrong in their handling of an investigation of a Florida man who shot himself and his family in North Florida. The Florida Department of Children and Families say they were actually investigating the man weeks before the mass shooting in Bell. So, in the wake of the deadly rampage, could lawmakers be considering another DCF legislative fix?

About a week ago, Don Spirit shot his 28-year-old daughter Sarah and her six kids ranging in age from about three months old baby to 11-years-old.

Attorney General Pam Bondi hopes to build on past anti-trafficking efforts with her new Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. She led the panel’s first meeting Monday in Tallahassee.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Florida is ranked third in the nation for the number of calls received by the center’s human trafficking hotline.

The so-called “Warning Shot” bill is heading to the Governor’s desk, after the Senate passed the measure Thursday. But, debate grew heated as some Democrats tried—and failed—to amend the bill.

Pages