DeSantis announces crime-fighting proposals to shore up police budgets, reform sentencing guidelines, and target fentanyl

by | Jan 27, 2023

  • Governor Ron DeSantis unveiled a sweeping criminal justice reform package on Thursday that included death penalty sentencing changes and other proposals.
  • The package calls for additional funding for law enforcement to tackle the fentanyl crisis, as well as changes to funding laws that would protect law enforcement budgets.
  • Florida’s crime rate has ticked steadily down in the last year, reaching a 50-year low, according to state officials.

(The Center Square) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference on Thursday in Miami to announce crime-fighting initiatives that include higher penalties for drug trafficking and sex crimes.

“We are very proud that we are a law and order state.” DeSantis said.

DeSantis added that legislation will be put in place to prevent law enforcement from being defunded and left unable to do their jobs.

The governor also pointed out that prosecutors do not get to “pick and choose which law that they enforce,” adding that “If you disagree with a law, run for the Legislature and change it, but you don’t get to be a law unto yourself.”

According to statistics provided by state officials, crime is at a 50-year low in Florida with overall crime down by nearly 10% compared to last year. Murder is down 14%, burglary is down by 15% and robbery is down 7%.

“Here in Miami-Dade County, thanks to the great work that the men and women in uniform do every single day, the murder rate dropped by 15% between 2020 and 2021 and dropped a further 38% through the first half of 2022.” DeSantis said.

DeSantis wants more funding for law enforcement agencies in Florida to battle the fentanyl crisis.

Fentanyl use has swept across the United States and Florida has dealt with fentanyl being mixed into various drugs that were manufactured in Mexico and smuggled across the southern border. DeSantis wants to strengthen laws to better deal with the situation.

“We’re going to include another $20 million in my upcoming budget recommendations in local support funding for law enforcement agencies to increase efforts to interdict and apprehend the illicit sale and trafficking of fentanyl.” DeSantis said.

Possessing, selling or manufacturing fentanyl will become a first-degree felony and a mandatory life sentence and $1 million penalty will be enforced against those targeting children.

DeSantis believes that habitual sex offenders, particularly child sex offenders should be able to face capital punishment.

According to a previous Florida Supreme Court ruling, the state Constitution does not allow capital punishment for anything short of homicide, DeSantis wants that to change.

“We are going to be exploring ways to facilitate some capital trials…These people don’t care, they are unrepentant, they don’t care about these children, they will do whatever they can to satiate themselves at the expense of very vulnerable people.”

DeSantis said he believes “the only appropriate punishment answer to that would have been capital.”

At a minimum, DeSantis wants life sentences for sex offenders and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody shares the governor’s sentiments.

“While some states are adopting soft on crime policies that increase lawlessness and decrease public safety, in Florida, we strive to strengthen our laws, keep violent criminals behind bars and take proactive steps to keep our communities safe,” said Moody.


  1. Linda W Bellamy

    Awesome, I agree!!!

  2. Deborah Coffey

    We are definitely not a law and order state.
    1) Of the 91 Floridians facing charges related to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, 11 are Oath Keepers and 16 are Proud Boys. (June 9, 2022…
    2) Jan 6, 2023 — Statewide, 89 people have been charged, including 36 in central Florida. Thirty-two have entered guilty pleas. (Jan. 6, 2023…
    3) Florida is the worst state in reporting crime to the FBI. Everything here is a LIE.

    So, to make things look better, Ron DeSantis would like to kill more people…for lesser crimes. A real tough guy.

    • wjtinfwb

      2/3 of your argument is based on the Jan 6 “Insurrection” hoax. For point 3, the FBI’s credibility is highly suspect, particularly given that the FBI participated in the Jan 6 event you cite as your primary evidence. I travel the US extensively for business, Florida is a state I feel very safe in. NY, CA, IL, TX even Georgia, not so much. There’s 49 other states you can move to, the vast majority of Floridians who appreciate DeSantis firm hand on crime will be glad to help you pack your U-Haul and leave.

      • Deborah Coffey

        You’re a conspiracy theorist. Apparently, you didn’t even watch the hours long video of the January 6th riot…which you are calling a “hoax.” Nothing I can do to help a poor, conned soul like you. But, be careful running around Florida. You could be killed at any moment.

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