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Florida Could Steer Drug Offenders To Diversion, Not Prison

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A bill that would steer more Florida drug offenders to diversion programs rather than prisons is moving forward.

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee unanimously approved the bill Tuesday that would change sentencing guidelines for drug possession convictions.

The bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Sean Shaw would apply only to possession charges and not to manufacturing, selling or delivering controlled substances.

It would take effect in October and not be applied retroactively.

A legislative study showed it would save the state nearly $131 million over the next five years by reducing the number of prison beds by more than 1,000.