Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney William Moore is available to explain the various options that are available for youthful offenders in Florida.
The Florida Youthful Offender Act is intended to improve the chances of correction and successful return to the community of youthful offenders sentenced to imprisonment by providing them with enhanced vocational, educational, counseling, or public service opportunities and by preventing their association with older and more experienced criminals during the terms of their confinement. It is the further purpose of the Act to encourage citizen volunteers from the community to contribute time, skills, and maturity toward helping youthful offenders successfully reintegrate into the community and to require youthful offenders to participate in substance abuse and other types of counseling and programs at each youthful offender institution. The legislature also intended to provide an additional sentencing alternative to be used in the discretion of the court when dealing with offenders who have demonstrated that they can no longer be handled safely as juveniles and who require more substantial limitations upon their liberty to ensure the protection of society.
Definition: The Act defines a “youthful offender” as any person who is sentenced as such by the court, or who is classified as such by the Department of Corrections (DOC).
The Youthful Offender Act is a separate statutory scheme for treatment of those young defendants to whom the Act applies, regardless of the nature of their crimes. The Act is intended to provide a sentencing alternative that is less harsh than the adult system, albeit more stringent than the juvenile system, for the benefit of offenders whose youth and other characteristics make it likely that such special treatment might halt at the beginning what could otherwise be a lifetime of continuing crime and related problems.
Nothing in the Act restricts the participation of youthful offenders in a mutual participation program. Such programs are intended by the legislature to involve the DOC in program planning with the offender while the offender is incarcerated, leading to the establishment of certain criteria affecting the grant of parole and release from parole, and to involve the offender in developing her or his individual rehabilitation program for the period of incarceration and parole. Offenders meeting eligibility criteria may be offered the opportunity to participate in the program, which will include a parole date. However, no offender is eligible to participate in such a program who was sentenced as an habitual felony offender or who was convicted of a capital or life felony.