Where Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis stand on criminal justice
At dueling high-class receptions in downtown Jacksonville on Thursday, just blocks from the Duval County jail, Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis delivered speeches that demonstrated the sharp divide in their personalities, their policies and their priorities. No issue illustrated that schism more clearly than criminal justice.
To Gillum, the state is wasting money locking up people who deserve second chances.
To DeSantis, any retreat from the state’s tough-on-crime policies is an offense to police and will reverse the state’s 50-year low crime rates.
Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor, talks about criminal justice in an aspirational tone. He talks of reforming the state’s bail system, of investing in re-entry services, of ending mass incarceration.
“We have to reform the criminal justice system in this state,” Gillum pronounced to a sold-out crowd of hundreds at the local NAACP annual dinner. “And it begins with passing Amendment 4 and re-enfranchising a million people. And let me tell you it doesn’t just end with rights restoration because we have got to take it to the next level.”
DeSantis, the former congressman who until recently represented the suburbs south of Jacksonville, avoids offering his own policy proposals, instead invoking fear that any change to the status quo will threaten Florida’s safety.