National and state leaders came together last week to address Florida’s continued efforts toward a smarter, more affordable approach to criminal justice issues at the 2014 Justice Summit in Orlando. Some 150 experts ranging from elected officials and policy makers to leading service providers attended the summit.
Florida’s 37th Attorney General, Pam Bondi, opened the event praising the organization for their work in creating safer communities for Florida’s citizens. She shared her experiences in prosecuting criminals for drug related crimes and her support for treatment and diversion courts when possible and appropriate.
Nationally known authorities, including Edward Latessa, PhD, University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice; Mark Levin, Esq., of the Texas Public Policy Foundation; and Sarah Rumpf, Esq., Right on Crime, made presentations on best practices around the country.
The 3rd annual event was hosted by the Florida Smart Justice Alliance, a coalition of organizations committed to changes in Florida’s criminal justice and corrections system designed to make Florida’s communities safer, save taxpayer money and hold offenders accountable while providing the tools for them to live law-abiding lives.
Lori Costantino-Brown, president & CEO of Bridges of America, a network of transition, work release, and substance abuse residential facilities, and founding chairman of the Florida Smart Justice Alliance noted that the three-day event gave justice agencies an opportunity to communicate with each other – something they often do not have an opportunity to do.
“Once everyone is together,” said Costantino-Brown, “You can really start to make a difference.