Some individuals in Florida are offered community service as an alternative to jail time when they are not able to pay court fees. While this may be a humane alternative, court-ordered community service seems to be having an especially negative impact on low-income communities and people of color.
Florida residents may be interested in learning why there is an increase in arrest rates although crime rates are continuing to decline. The answer is important because when a person gets arrested and convicted, they may face challenges that impact them for the rest of their life. Depending on the arrest and conviction, the result could be loss of employment, loss of housing or an inability to apply for certain governmental programs.
The typical criminal investigation by police in Florida includes the arrest of suspects. Law enforcement officers jail these people, who must then hope that they qualify for bail. Even when judges approve bail to release defendants, many people cannot afford it. They then linger in jail, sometimes for long periods of time, awaiting trial. For low-level offenses, they might languish behind bars for longer than a sentence for the crime. This situation empowers prosecutors who can gain guilty pleas in exchange for release from jail.
Younger Americans in Florida and across the United States are being arrested more often than older adults. The statistics come from a study done by researchers at the RAND Corporation using surveys from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Over 5,000 families were surveyed as part of the study; 35,000 of the study participants were over the age of 50.
Some inmates in Florida may be affected by certain provisions of the First Step Act if it passes. The bill is currently under consideration in Congress.
Arrests, charges and convictions can impact people’s lives in many ways. This includes through showing up on one’s record. What is on a person’s public criminal record can have many implications. For one, it can have employment impacts, as criminal records are among the things employers often look at when considering job candidates.