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02 Oct: What is the Florida Youthful Offender Act and Can it Benefit You?

The Florida Youthful Offender Act (the “Act”) was enacted by the Florida Legislature in 1978 to provide young adults who would normally be prosecuted in adult criminal court, with a more flexible and less harsh sentencing program. Florida Statute Section 958.021 explains that a primary purpose behind the Act is to increase the likelihood of rehabilitating and successfully returning young adult offenders (“youthful offenders”) to society by preventing their interaction with older and more experienced criminals in the prison system. Under the Act, youthful offenders are given increased vocational, educational, counseling and public service opportunities and they must participate in substance abuse and other forms of counseling. Members of the community are also encouraged to volunteer their time and skills to help youthful offenders reintegrate into their communities.