Reinvest Dollars Saved by Reducing our County Prison Population
1. SAVE MILLIONS THROUGH JAIL DIVERSION PROGRAMS
Miami-Dade County's existing jail diversion programs save the County $6M annually (American Criminal Law Review, 2019). Non-profits like The Alternative Program, saved the County $15M in cost avoidance by presenting alternatives to incarceration. In addition, these programs reunite families, improving economic and social stability at a household level.
- Establish an Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) Work Group under the Dade-Miami Criminal Justice Council to reduce the County’s jail population by 25% by April 2022 through investments in public health and social services infrastructure (See Los Angeles County, New York City, and Palm Beach County models)
- Explore the feasibility of a mental health crisis call diversion from law enforcement, for example in Houston and Austin, Texas
- Research the feasibility of a sobering center, providing an appropriate and safe place for people to recover from acute intoxication and receive services for substance use disorders as an alternative to incarceration
- Further invest in the Public Defender's Office Early Representation Unit program, which represents people charged with felonies from first appearance until arraignment to obtain their release from jail
- Similar to the Environmental Education Grants Program, start a departmental grants program for organizations that support community members impacted by the criminal justice system, including transitional housing programs, programs for people who are currently incarcerated, and reentry programs.
Primary Partners: League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County, Beyond the Bars, Opa-Locka CDC, Community Justice Project, Dream Defenders, Divest/Invest Miami, WeCount!, Florida Rising, Engage Miami, Miami Workers Center, Florida Housing Justice Alliance, Justice for Miami, and SMASH