Florida lawmakers propose military service as alternative to jail time

Senate version filed by Democrat Darryl Rouson, of St. Petersburg

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Certain criminal offenders could opt for a hitch in the military over jail time, under a proposal filed for the upcoming legislative session.

The Senate version of the measure (SB 1356), filed Tuesday by Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, would allow people who are 25 years old or younger and face less than four years behind bars for misdemeanors to enlist in branches of the U.S. armed forces.

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The option wouldn’t be available to people who, for example, are considered habitual felony offenders or violent career criminals.

The people could still face sentencing if they don’t meet requirements, such as completing the first term of enlistment.

An identical proposal (HB 187) was filed in September by Rep. Patricia Williams, D-Pompano Beach.

The 2022 legislative session starts Jan. 11.

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