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Students Weigh in on Criminal Justice Reform at 2020 Future of Florida Summit

More than 100 university students from across Florida convened on the University of Florida campus over the Feb. 21-23 weekend as part of the 2020 Future of Florida Summit, an annual “learn by doing” opportunity sponsored by the Bob Graham Center to give young leaders the chance to practice civic engagement.

The theme of the 2020 conference was criminal justice reform, and over 2 1/2 days the conference attendees listened to subject-matter experts speak on various facets of the topic: preventing recidivism, law enforcement, sentencing and the prison system.

Afterward, they broke into 11 work groups denoted with the last name of a previous Florida attorney general, and set about developing policy proposals and strategies to initiate criminal justice reforms. Proposals were then judged on four criteria: creativity/innovation, presentation, impact and feasibility, and selected by an independent three-member jury of university faculty.

The winning proposal was titled “Eliminating license suspensions for non-driving offenses,” and was submitted by Team Landis. Team members are: Abigail Jones, Kimberly Janssens, Samantha Steiner, Kwan Quan Tran, Javian Jones, Timothy Ingram, and Justice Woods. See a photo of the team at this link:

The second-place proposal was submitted by Team Gibbs and titled, “An attempt to reduce employment discrimination to those with criminal records: incentivizing businesses to hire formerly incarcerated persons with federal tax credits.” Team members are: Daniel Zengotita, Noah Fineberg, Mary Faas, Hannah Gutner, Maurice Gilbert, and Alexandria Washington. See a photo of the team at this link:

The third-place proposal was submitted by Team Kynes, and titled, “A proposal to add to Florida Statute 943.13 that mental health training should be required for all correctional officers and prison guards.” Team members are: Emma Towler, Kevin Rivera, Vanessa Ramos, Kory Von Leue, and Logan Love. See a photo of the team at this link:

This year’s conference chair was Megan Pitt, a senior majoring in economics and political science at UF, and vice-chair was Cale McCall, who will graduate in December with a bachelor’s in public relations.

For a complete agenda of the 2020 Future of Florida Summit and guest speakers, visit:

You may view a large album of photos from this year’s event on the Bob Graham Center Flickr account at this link: