Florida prison officials see declining number of repeat offenders

TALLAHASSEE — Florida prison officials say taxpayers are saving millions of dollars because the number of repeat offenders is declining.

Gov. Rick Scott's proposed state budget would use some of the $21.2 million in savings to pay $1,000 bonuses to guards and probation officers and $500 to other prison workers.

Recidivism has been trending down for several years. Figures posted on the state's Department of Corrections website show the percentage of inmates returning to prison within three years of release dropped from 33.8 percent in 2003 to 27.6 percent in 2008.

Overall prison admissions declined to 32,279 in the budget year ending June 30. That compares to nearly 35,000 the year before and 41,000 in 2007-08.

State prison officials will release more information Monday about recidivism and taxpayer savings.

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