The Board only meets four times a year (often enough to pose for a photo) and "approves a disturbingly low number of clemency cases." The Times reports Florida has "more than 98,000 inmates in its prisons," but the last three governors granted clemency only 38 times (Jeb Bush - 22, Charlie - Crist 13, Rick Scott - 3).
Says the Times:
Too often requests for clemency are unheard or denied, making a mockery of the state's dual responsibility to punish and rehabilitate prisoners. It would be helpful if the Clemency Board, which is after all a public body, shared the information that influenced its decisions. But Florida's clemency system is unnecessarily shrouded in secrecy. Under current law, records and documents in clemency cases are confidential, an unacceptable exclusion for elected officials.The Times also suggests that another "starting point for reform" would be to use "a simple majority for clemency even without the governor's assent."
Florida too willingly writes off inmates without giving them the second chance that successful completion of rehabilitation programs and good behavior should earn. Locking up an inmate and throwing away the key hurts not just a rehabilitated prisoner but costs the state itself the services of a reformed citizen who could contribute to society.See full story here.