Florida Democrats are taking action to make the Sunshine State safer by launching a new task force that will enforce and model ordinances that will help to protect public safety. Here's what you should know.
"You Want to Live in a Safe City"
The Democratic party in Florida is taking a huge step toward criminal justice reform by introducing the Safety & Justice Task Force. The task force's purpose is to model ordinances and rules that promote public safety rather than increasing incarceration rates.
Manny Diaz, Chair of the Florida Dem. Party says, "I don't care where you're from. You want to live in a safe city. You want to live in a safe community, and we want to do everything we can to make that happen."
The task force will include Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren among four other elected officials and advocates.
While it may seem like a minute step in the right direction, the Safety & Justice Task Force will provide resources and education or public safety. It will also open bi-partisan dialogue with leaders, businesses, law enforcement, advocates, and faith leaders.
One of the most troublesome hurdles in the criminal justice discussion is political bias. Ever since prison reform and criminal justice issues came into the public conversation, both parties have played a kind of tug-of-war with the idea of changing the justice system.
Reform benefits both parties in different ways, and it can benefit them too, but the concern for many lawmakers is their constituents. People outside of the justice system have different opinions regarding criminal law than those studying it or living through it.
In some cases, this can complicate issues further. The task force will be a bridge between lawmakers and constituents, which may lead to actual change.
Experience as a Teacher
Hillsborough County has implemented strategic problem-solving approaches along with education-driven public safety programs with satisfactory results. State Attorney Andrew Warren has been a part of this push for bipartisanship within his community and is optimistic that these changes will produce favorable results statewide.
"[…] we can make so many good things happen in the system. I am confident that we'll be able to come up with ideas and solutions that benefit all of Florida," says Warren.
The other four task force members have yet to be selected, but the Democratic Party is planning on launching this new safety effort by Summer 2022. Grassroots change takes time, but advocates and lawmakers hope that this will be the first of many positive steps for criminal justice reform in Florida.
The criminal justice needs comprehensive reforms, but bipartisan efforts like this help to get the ball rolling. If nothing else, the task force could jumpstart the conversation among locals and educate them on the state of our justice system. Change takes time, but every step counts!