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Zero Tolerance Policy Rescinded and Alternatives Implemented to Address Technical Violations, Report No. 10-39, April 2010
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  • In 2003, the Department of Corrections established a ‘zero tolerance policy’ that required its probation officers to report to the court every offender in community supervision who violated conditions of supervision. As a result, offenders who committed technical violations were brought before the court as well as those who committed new criminal offenses. Although this policy increased offender scrutiny, it had several disadvantages including substantially increasing court workload and costs to incarcerate offenders for relatively minor violations.
  • Since OPPAGA’s 2007 report, the department has rescinded its zero tolerance policy and has directed its probation officers to report only those technical violations that are willful unless otherwise directed by the courts. The department, Legislature, and circuit courts also have implemented alternative ways to address technical violations, including technical violation notification letters, notices to appear, and specialized courts. As a result, the number of offenders brought before the court for technical violations has significantly decreased, as have prison admissions for such violations. The new policy and alternatives are conserving limited resources while holding technical violators responsible for their actions.

What were our earlier findings?

Report No. 07-13 Department of Corrections Zero Tolerance Policy Increases Offender Scrutiny But Is Not Based on Risk to Public Safety,published in February 2007.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Community Corrections
Department of Corrections
Circuit Courts

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 14-02 Expansion Drug Courts Can Produce Positive Outcomes Through Prison Diversion and Reduced Recidivism,published in January 2014.
  • Report No. 11-21 Expansion Drug Courts Serving More Prison-Bound Offenders, but Will Not Fully Expend Federal Funds,published in November 2011.
  • Report No. 10-54 Without Changes, Expansion Drug Courts Unlikely to Realize Expected Cost Savings,published in October 2010.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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