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Charlie Crist on Crime

Republican

 


Reimagine law enforcement; restore trust with police

He supported the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act to reimagine law enforcement and restore trust between police and the communities they serve.
Source: 2021 Florida Gubernatorial campaign website CharlieCrist.com , May 5, 2021

"Chain Gang Charlie": reinstitute prisoner labor on highways

It was the chain gangs that really got me noticed in Tallahassee. In 1995, Alabama had revived the practice of shackling prisoners together and sending them out to work with armed guards, often collecting litter along the highway. The practice had been abandoned in most places in the 1940s. Still, I thought reinstituting appropriate punishment was an important concept, and I decided on a dramatic way of making the point. So one day in the Senate chamber, I hoisted a set of chains above my head--and boy, were they heavier than I thought!

I co-sponsored a chain gang amendment. An editorial writer at the St. Petersburg Times coined the nickname "Chain Gang Charlie." I can assure you it was not meant as a term of endearment. But soon enough, people across the state were calling me "Chain Gang," and I didn't mind it one bit. Being tough on criminals was fine with Republicans.

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p. 43-44 , Feb 4, 2014

1978: Florida State murders taught empathy for victims

Just after we all returned to school from Christmas break, the whole Tallahassee campus was badly shaken by an absolutely harrowing event. Around 2:45am on Jan. 15, an unknown man walked into the Chi Omega sorority house and savagely beat 4 young women. He then broke into a basement apartment 8 blocks away and attacked another Florida State student.

It took 3 weeks for the assailant to be caught. He was a former law student from Washington State named Ted Bundy, on a cross-country, multi-year murder spree. Before he was finally put to death in 1989, he confessed to 30 murders in 7 states between 1974 and 1978. The true total could be much higher. The attacks left me with an intense empathy for crime victims that has followed me through my life. It also cemented my interest in attending law school.

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p. 25-26 , Feb 4, 2014

1993: Sponsored STOP law: Stop Turning Out Prisoners

One thing I noticed was that many people who went to prison in Florida didn't seem to stay very long. It wasn't unusual for prisoners--even murderers--to pack their stuff and go home after 20 or 25% of their terms. The criminal justice system had plenty of justice for the criminals and almost none for the victims of their crimes. So I sponsored legislation requiring inmates to serve at least 85% of their sentences. STOP, it was called, for Stop Turning Out Prisoners. It flew through the legislature. Governor Chiles allowed the change to become law without his signature, going along with it while hinting he wasn't exactly thrilled.
Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p. 43 , Feb 4, 2014

Chain-Gang Charlie: reinstitute prison chain gangs

Crist has been doggedly reminding people: He says he is a pro-gun, anti-abortion, small-government conservative who worships Ronald Reagan. He says he is against gay marriage, frugal (he pays off his single credit card every month) and despised by criminals (he once proposed that chain gangs be reinstituted, earning him the nickname Chain Gang Charlie).
Source: New York Times on 2010 Florida Senate debate , Jan 10, 2010

Stop Turning Out Prisoners: serve at least 85% of sentence

Crist received invaluable experience in Florida's criminal justice system while interning in the State Attorney's Office.

In 1992, he won a seat in the Florida Senate, where he represented the interests of citizens concerned about such issues as education, crime, the environment and elder affairs. During his six years in the Senate, Crist served as Chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and as Chairman of the Appropriations Criminal Justice Subcommittee. A strong voice for public safety, he sponsored, among other legislation, the Stop Turning Out Prisoners (STOP) bill requiring prisoners to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences. This achievement earned him numerous honors, including appointment as an Honorary Sheriff by the Florida Sheriffs Association--only the third person to receive the honor in the organization's long history.

Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.charliecrist.com, "Issues" , Dec 25, 2009

Supports 10-20-Life and Stop Turning Out Prisoners program

In the Preamble to the Constitution, one of the primary roles of government is defined as ensuring domestic tranquility, which means keeping our people safe. We are fulfilling this responsibility with tougher laws and increased enforcement along with crime prevention strategies within the criminal justice system. Effective legislation such as Stop Turning Out Prisoners and 10-20-Life is making an impact on the crime rate, while the Anti-Murder Act will prevent future tragedies. And we must also work together to address crime in our state, including gang activity.

I was proud to launch the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit in 2005 to thwart the actions of those who target our children. Attorney General Bill McCollum has made fighting this crime a top priority.

Source: 2008 State of the State Address to Florida legislature , Mar 4, 2008

Supports 10-20-Life and Stop Turning Out Prisoners program

And we must also work together to address crime in our state, including gang activity.

I was proud to launch the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit in 2005 to thwart the actions of those who target our children. Attorney General Bill McCollum has made fighting this crime a top priority.

Source: 2008 State of the State Address to Florida legislature , Mar 4, 2008

Proposed the Anti-Murder Act

I have proposed the Anti-Murder Act. I have witnessed firsthand the unimaginable limits of human grief when a parent loses a child to violent crime. Until you have listened to a father or a mother who have seen the light of their lives extinguished by the monstrous assault of a violent felon, you cannot know the enormity of the threat we face. We owe our parents the simple assurance that we have done everything within our power to prevent these atrocities from ever happening again.
Source: 2007 State of the State Address , Mar 6, 2007

Require that prisoners serve at least 85% of their sentences

As a State Senator, Charlie fought for and passed the STOP (Stop Turning Out Prisoners) legislation that required, for the first time, that prisoners serve at least 85% of their sentences.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.charliecrist.com, “Issues” , Nov 7, 2006

Broaden use of federal death penalty

Source: Congressional 1998 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1998

More federal prisons; more “truth in sentencing”

Source: Congressional 1998 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1998

First step: reduce recidivism & mass incarceration.

Crist voted YEA First Step Act

Congressional Summary:

Opposing press release from Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1):: The reform sentencing laws in this bill may compromise the safety of our communities. Criminals convicted of violent crimes would have the opportunity to achieve 'low risk' status and become eligible for early release. California already has similar laws in place--Propositions 47 and 57--which have hamstrung law enforcement and caused a significant uptick in crime.

Supporting press release from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10):: S. 756 establishes a new system to reduce the risk that [federal prisoners] will commit crimes once they are released. Critically, S. 756 would not only implement these reforms to our prison system, but it also takes a crucial first step toward addressing grave concerns about our sentencing laws, which have for years fed a national crisis of mass incarceration. The bill is a 'first step' that demonstrates that we can work together to make the system fairer in ways that will also reduce crime and victimization.

Legislative outcome: Concurrence Passed Senate, 87-12-1, on Dec. 18, 2018; Concurrence Passed House 358-36-28, Dec. 20, 2018; President Trump signed, Dec. 21, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 18-S756 on Dec 20, 2018

Sponsored stricter rules for police accountability.

Crist co-sponsored George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

This bill addresses policing practices and law enforcement accountability:

Rep. Elise Stefanik in OPPOSITION (3/1/21): I voted against H.R. 1280--this bill poses a grave danger to law-abiding police officers, as it would eliminate qualified immunity protections, lower the standard for federal civil rights lawsuits, and limit access to necessary equipment during emergencies and natural disasters. Democrats rushed this bill to the House Floor without accepting any input from Republicans, expert testimony, or significant data. I am proud to sponsor the JUSTICE Act with Senator Tim Scott, to provide necessary reforms to end police brutality while protecting our law-abiding officers.

OnTheIssues explanation of "qualified immunity": "Qualified immunity" means that police officers (and other government officials) cannot be sued for actions on duty, unless knowingly taking unreasonable actions. This bill would limit "qualified immunity," which means the family in cases like George Floyd's could sue the police for civil damages.

Biden Administration in SUPPORT (3/1/21): We must begin by rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the people they are entrusted to serve and protect. We cannot rebuild that trust if we do not hold police officers accountable for abuses of power and tackle systemic misconduct--and systemic racism--in police departments.

Legislative Outcome: Passed House 220-212-0 on March 3, 2021, rollcall #60; received in Senate on March 9; no further Senate action during 2021.

Source: H.R.1280 21-HR1280 on Feb 24, 2021

2021-22 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Crime: Charlie Crist on other issues:
FL Gubernatorial:
Adam Putnam
Alexander Snitker
Andrew Gillum
Annette Taddeo
Bill Nelson
Gwen Graham
Nikki Fried
Philip Levine
Rick Scott
Ron DeSantis
Wayne Messam
FL Senatorial:
Bill Nelson
Carlos Lopez-Cantera
David Jolly
Edward Janowski
Marco Rubio
Pam Keith
Patrick Murphy
Rick Scott
Ron DeSantis
Republican Freshman class of 2021:
AL-1: Jerry Carl(R)
AL-2: Barry Moore(R)
CA-8: Jay Obernolte(R)
CA-50: Darrell Issa(R)
CO-3: Lauren Boebert(R)
FL-3: Kat Cammack(R)
FL-15: Scott Franklin(R)
FL-19: Byron Donalds(R)
GA-9: Andrew Clyde(R)
GA-14: Marjorie Taylor Greene(R)
IA-2: Mariannette Miller-Meeks(R)
IA-4: Randy Feenstra(R)
IL-15: Mary Miller(R)
IN-5: Victoria Spartz(R)
KS-1: Tracey Mann(R)
KS-2: Jake LaTurner(R)
LA-5: Luke Letlow(R)
MI-3: Peter Meijer(R)
MI-10: Lisa McClain(R)
MT-0: Matt Rosendale(R)
NC-11: Madison Cawthorn(R)
NM-3: Teresa Leger Fernandez(D)
NY-2: Andrew Garbarino(R)
NY-22: Claudia Tenney(R)
OR-2: Cliff Bentz(R)
PR-0: Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon(R)
TN-1: Diana Harshbarger(R)
TX-4: Pat Fallon(R)
TX-11: August Pfluger(R)
TX-13: Ronny Jackson(R)
TX-17: Pete Sessions(R)
TX-22: Troy Nehls(R)
TX-23: Tony Gonzales(R)
TX-24: Beth Van Duyne(R)
UT-1: Blake Moore(R)
VA-5: Bob Good(R)
WI-5: Scott Fitzgerald(R)
Incoming Democratic Freshman class of 2021:
CA-53: Sara Jacobs(D)
GA-5: Nikema Williams(D)
GA-7: Carolyn Bourdeaux(D)
HI-2: Kai Kahele(D)
IL-3: Marie Newman(D)
IN-1: Frank Mrvan(D)
MA-4: Jake Auchincloss(D)
MO-1: Cori Bush(D)
NC-2: Deborah Ross(D)
NC-6: Kathy Manning(D)
NY-15: Ritchie Torres(D)
NY-16: Jamaal Bowman(D)
NY-17: Mondaire Jones(D)
WA-10: Marilyn Strickland(D)

Republican takeovers as of 2021:
CA-21: David Valadao(R) defeated T.J. Cox(D)
CA-39: Young Kim(R) defeated Gil Cisneros(D)
CA-48: Michelle Steel(R) defeated Harley Rouda(D)
FL-26: Carlos Gimenez(R) defeated Debbie Mucarsel-Powell(D)
FL-27: Maria Elvira Salazar(R) defeated Donna Shalala(D)
IA-1: Ashley Hinson(R) defeated Abby Finkenauer(D)
MN-7: Michelle Fischbach(R) defeated Collin Peterson(D)
NM-2: Yvette Herrell(R) defeated Xochitl Small(D)
NY-11: Nicole Malliotakis(R) defeated Max Rose(D)
OK-5: Stephanie Bice(R) defeated Kendra Horn(D)
SC-1: Nancy Mace(R) defeated Joe Cunningham(D)
UT-4: Burgess Owens(R) defeated Ben McAdams(D)

Special Elections 2021-2022:
CA-22: replacing Devin Nunes (R, SPEL summer 2022)
FL-20: replacing Alcee Hastings (D, SPEL Jan. 2022)
LA-2: Troy Carter (R, April 2021)
LA-5: Julia Letlow (R, March 2021)
NM-1: Melanie Stansbury (D, June 2021)
OH-11: Shontel Brown (D, Nov. 2021)
OH-15: Mike Carey (R, Nov. 2021)
TX-6: Jake Ellzey (R, July 2021)
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Page last updated: Jan 21, 2022