We've identified 19 problems we're passionate about that will be the paved road to reform social justice though Society-First. We believe that focusing on the root of the problem helps us build a foundation for real change.

Florida's Present Prison System

The "Present Prison System" document by Society-First advocates for criminal justice reform in Florida, focusing on reducing mass incarceration, addressing recidivism, and promoting societal rehabilitation and forgiveness.



In today's prison system, there is an epidemic that has amassed a very destructive force, and one would be sadly mistaken to shrug it off as being inconsequential to the world outside of prison. We must not turn a blind eye to the fact that the realities in prison will one day become realities outside of prison.



In general, the effects of drugs are at the center of almost every sad story, but in the world of prison, they can give a defining end to those stories. Being incarcerated presents the perfect isolation to impact those in society who for many diverse reasons have turned to the numbing effects of drugs and alcohol.



Whether it is in or out of prison, gangs have become one of the leading causes of the growing violence, drugs, and the cultivation of criminality that plagues our society. As they grow, our chances of becoming a victim grow and this is why finding a solution to this problem needs to be one of our biggest agendas in the realm of criminal justice reform.



Violence is one of the biggest factors that has promulgated today's culture in prison, and due to no solution being provided, violence has become a necessity in many inmates' minds. To survive, one must embrace the violence to ensure that one is not grossly affected by it. What goes up must come down.


Use of Force

In today's prison system, there is a real issue with unnecessary uses of force and Society-First seeks to identify the common denominators to this unacceptable practice. We seek to shine a light on why these abuses are so common and why there is a lack of accountability.



In today's prison system, suicide is one of the saddest realities that our world has to offer. The amount of pain, loneliness, and sorrow that can compel someone to take their own life is something that a human being should not ever have to know.


Mental Health

In today's prison system, there is a detachment in the mental health field as the code of the FDC has created a gang-like mentality within all staff. A code that says "We never stand alone" has translated into an "it's us against them" mentality.


Staff Mentality

The mentality of a company's staff will dictate which direction that company takes and this is one of the prime reasons behind FDC's present culture. When the FDC switched gears from "rehabilitation" to the strict parameters of "care, custody, and control", it began to lose touch with its accountability in placing society first.



It is true, that in today's prisons, we find individuals who come from all walks of life. However, there is a large demographic of young men who have the bare minimum of education. This group of men is under 25 and makes up the growing present prison population.



In today's prison system, very few vocational trades and educational classes are offered for the incarcerated. There are 49 major institutions in Florida, and only a handful of institutions have more than one vocational trade. There are even institutions that do not have a single trade to offer their inmate population.



The need for those in prison to receive as much help as they can to change is a need that will require many volunteers to be able to add to these offenders' lives. A requirement that is sorely lacking in Florida's prison system and just like almost everything about the prison system, it is set up to fail in this area.



Many times, the reality of re-entry sets up those who are about to be released for failure, which ultimately, sets up society for failure. Somewhere our system quit safeguarding its society by failing to rehabilitate and releasing ex-offenders who are not prepared to succeed.


Tough on Crime

In Florida, there has been a culture maintained for the past 25 years, a culture that has been driven by the "Tough on Crime" policy. A policy that was meant to stop the victimization of our society.


Florida Sentencing Schemes

In Florida, there is a complex maze of sentencing schemes that make restructuring the present system a tedious task that ensures an all-encompassing strategy for reform. Admittedly, there is difficulty and challenges in making effective reforms that benefit the public and the over-sentenced inmate respectively.


Florida's Probation System

When it comes to Florida's probation (and parole for those still under the pre-1983 parole commission) systems, there may not be more of an unjust policy for ex-offenders who are trying to start a new life. The negative snowball created when probationers (who are not committing a new crime) are violated and sent back to prison, is a snowball that destroys everything in its path.


Outdated Parole System

When one thinks about the system that is best equipped in releasing an offender back into society, one would be hard-pressed to find a better one than an effective parole system. An effective parole system gives the best chance to gauge if the offender is ready or not to be released.


The Cost of Life

At Society-First, we wish to shed light on the origin and the impact of Florida's "Life" sentence. As a victim, you may ask, "Why should we care about those who did not care about us?" We recognize this as a compelling argument, but we also recognize that our great country was never meant to play the role of a victim.


Youth Offender Lifers

The least culpable/mentally undeveloped offenders are the ones that will have to be condemned to prison for 40-60 years, sometimes 20 years more than the fully developed adult. The scientific study that was instrumental in abolishing the "mandatory" Life Without Parole sentences for juvenile offenders (under the age of 18 years old) is the same scientific study that determined the mind is not fully developed until sometimes the age of 25.


Per Curriam Affirmed (PCA)

The legislature gave the District Courts the green light to escape correcting such injustices by simply creating the Per Curiam Affirmed (PCA) legislation, which is a proverbial brick wall that blocks access to higher courts without a written explanation.