Fla. Lawmakers Consider Bill to Extend Parole

Florida lawmakers are pushing legislation designed to keep certain criminals behind bars for longer periods of time.

Right now, convicted felons have to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before being eligible for parole.

Those convicted of crimes other than murder or sexual battery are granted parole interviews every two years.

Under a new bill, inmates convicted of kidnapping, robbery or aggressive burglary would only be up for parole every seven years.

But critics say it would be in Florida's best financial interest to release more inmates into community treatment and job training programs.

"It benefits the taxpayers through savings," said Rob Weissert with Florida TaxWatch. "It benefits the incarcerated individuals through re-integrating them into society successfully. It benefits all of society by really reducing crime."

Florida spends nearly $20,000 a year on housing each of its inmates. Reform advocates say taxpayers could save hundreds-of-millions of dollars a year by giving more inmates parole.

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