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How do high incarceration rates impact Floridians?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2023 | Blog, Criminal Law

In comparison to other states, Florida has a relatively high incarceration rate. This reality has many effects on incarcerated people and their families, as well as the residents of Florida.

If you live in Florida, you should learn about the effects of high incarceration on communities across the state.

Criminal justice in Florida

Although the rate has dropped over the past several years, the incarceration rate in Florida remains higher than average in the United States. In November 2022, there were over 82,000 people in Florida prisons and many more serving probation or in local jails. Inmates in the Florida prison system often serve longer sentences, and a higher proportion of offenders spend time in prison. In addition, a large number of incarcerated people in Florida have convictions for nonviolent crimes, including many drug offenders.

Incarceration’s impact

High incarceration in Florida affects residents in many ways. First, prisons are expensive to maintain, and Florida’s taxpayers must cover the costs. The state has an older population which can increase expenses. In addition, substance abuse and mental illness among the prison population can be costly to treat. Furthermore, incarceration can harm families and children by removing income-earning adults from households. For example, educational outcomes are, on average, worse for children who grow up with an incarcerated parent. Incarceration can also damage local economies and make it difficult for offenders to reintegrate into society. Individuals with criminal convictions often struggle to earn an income and find stable employment.

A high incarceration rate has effects that are negative for individuals, families and communities in Florida.