The Marshall Project

Can Better Data Fix Florida’s Prisons?

Landmark law lets the state track people from arrest to release.

Florida has one of the largest and most expensive prison systems in the country. Each year, the state spends nearly $2.4 billion to keep roughly 100,000 people behind bars. And the system is rife with racial disparities: Black people make up 17 percent of the state’s population—and almost half of its prisoners.

Lawmakers are split over which is the more pressing problem: the high cost of locking so many people up or the overrepresentation of black people in prison. But they do agree that to address either issue, they need more data.

Last year, the Sunshine State to require its jails, prosecutors, public defenders, courts and prisons to coordinate

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