What is the purpose of the commission?
The Florida Commission on Offender Review has two primary roles in the criminal justice system.
- The commission acts as an investigative body that supports the Board of Executive Clemency in considering petitions for clemency by offenders.
- The commission seeks to protect public safety by determining the suitability of releasing certain offenders from incarceration and setting the terms and conditions of supervision for post-prison releases.
What services are provided by the commission?
The commission provides the following services.
- Clemency. Clemency is a constitutionally authorized process through which an individual may have some or all of their rights restored. The commission serves as an investigative body that supports the Board of Executive Clemency (composed of the Governor and members of the Florida Cabinet, which consists of the Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Chief Financial Officer). The commission conducts investigative reports of persons under consideration by the board for full pardon, pardon without firearm authority, pardon for misdemeanor, commutation of sentence, remission of fines and forfeitures, specific authority to own, possess, or use firearms, restoration of civil rights, or restoration of alien status under Florida law. In Fiscal Year 2019-20, the commission completed 4,244 clemency cases.
- Parole Determination. The commission conducts administrative, quasi-judicial hearings to determine whether to release offenders on parole or conditional medical release. Offenses which are eligible for parole include those that occurred prior to October 1, 1983, as well as specific felony offenses enumerated by statute after 1983, and prior to October 31, 1995, for certain capital felony cases. As of June 2020, there were 3,959 inmates who were eligible for parole consideration. In Fiscal Year 2019-20, 1,419 parole release decisions were made, resulting in 43 inmates being released on parole.
- Supervision Term and Condition Setting. The commission sets terms and conditions of supervision for parole, conditional release, addiction recovery supervision, and conditional medical release such as mandatory drug treatment, anger management counseling, and/or restrictions on where the offender may reside. As of June 2020, there were 424 parolees on supervision.
- Offender Revocation. The commission makes final determinations regarding alleged violations of parole, conditional release, addiction recovery release, control release, and conditional medical release. Upon a finding of fact that an offender has violated the terms and conditions of his or her release, the commissioners may vote to revoke supervision and return the offender to prison. In Fiscal Year 2019-20, the commission made 1,443 revocation determinations.
- Victim Assistance. The commission notifies and solicits input from victims of offenders being considered for parole, clemency, or conditional medical release. In addition, the commission gathers information about the nature of the crime to assist in determining whether aggravating factors (e.g., torture, excessive brutality) were present. In setting the presumptive parole release date, the commission may use this information to increase the date at which the inmate is first eligible for parole. In Fiscal Year 2019-20, the commission provided 27,426 victim assists.
- Warrants. The commission issues warrants for the arrest of violators on parole, conditional release, addiction recovery release, control release, and conditional medical release. In Fiscal Year 2019-20, the commission issued 1,853 warrants.
Who is on the commission?
How well does the commission perform?
The commission's Long Range Program Plan lists goals and corresponding objectives designed to provide for public safety and increased efficiency.
- Goal 1-Select individuals appropriate for parole. The objective is to identify individuals who will succeed as law-abiding citizens. For Fiscal Year 2019-20, 90.5% of inmates paroled during the reporting period successfully completed their first three years of supervision without revocation. The commission's projected goal was 90%.
- Goal 2-Ensure informed decision-making. The objective is to provide complete and accurate information to the Commission on Offender Review and Board of Executive Clemency. For Fiscal Year 2019-20, 99.9% of the case records contained no factual errors. The commission's projected goal was 98%.
- Goal 3-Guarantee timely decisions. The objective is to complete the revocation process within specific timeframes. For Fiscal Year 2019-20, 100% of revocation cases were completed within 90 days of final hearing. The commission's projected goal was 99%.
- Goal 4-Ensure informed decision-making for cases without a hearing. The objective is to ensure that eligibility determinations and investigatory information provided to the Board of Executive Clemency, for Without a Hearing cases, contain no factual errors. For Fiscal Year 2019-20, the board did not request cases without a hearing from the commission.
- Goal 5-Ensure informed decision-making for cases with a hearing. The objective is to ensure that eligibility determinations and investigatory information provided to the Board of Executive Clemency, for With a Hearing cases, contain no factual errors. For Fiscal Year 2019-20, the board did not request cases with a hearing from the commission.
How are these activities funded?
Felon Voting Rights. In 2019, the Florida Legislature enacted Ch. 2019-162, Laws of Florida, which made substantive changes to the Florida Election Code and implemented Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution, which was approved by voters in November 2018. This amendment restored the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. For those offenders covered by the amendment, it only restored the right to vote and not the right to sit on a jury or hold public office. Restoration of these rights can only be restored through application to the Board of Executive Clemency. The amendment does not apply to those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses, who continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case-by-case basis.
Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?
A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website
Where can I get more information?
What are the applicable statutes?
Article IV, Section 8, Constitution of the State of Florida, and Ch. 947, Florida Statutes.
Whom do I contact for help?
Public Affairs Office, 850-922-0000