Corrections in Context

Florida Crime and Corrections Data Over Time


It is essential that the state regularly evaluate components of its justice system to ensure efficient and effective policies and procedures. This half-page-sized pocket guide provides an in-depth examination of Florida sentencing and incarceration over the past two decades.

Summary of Key Findings

  • As the “sentence lag time” increases, so can the cost of housing pretrial defendants in local jails;
  • The majority of offenders sentenced in FY2015 took plea bargains and received sanctions for nonviolent offenses;
  • Judges make use of opportunities to exercise discretion through downward departures, but it only affects a small portion of offenders;
  • Stringent sentencing policies lead to lengthier prison stays and more inmates;
  • Florida’s incarceration rate is declining as the inmate population begins to level-off;
  • Floridians between the ages of 25 and 34 have the highest incarceration rate;
  • Florida prison admission and release rates are in decline;
  • Nonviolent offenders make up over half of yearly prison admissions;
  • Year-and-a-day inmates comprise 7.5 percent of state prison admissions;
  • Florida admits an increasing number of elderly inmates each year, many for nonviolent offenses;
  • Inmates’ education levels entering prison remain low;
  • Florida’s mentally ill inmate population continues to grow, as does the severity of diagnosis;
  • Florida recidivism continues to decline, but lags behind states like Texas;
  • Florida’s corrections budget is relatively constant as a portion of state general revenue;
  • The majority of DOC spending went to institutional operations in FY2016; and
  • Spending per inmate, per day has remained relatively constant.

The Author

Elle Piloseno, Research Analyst. Elle is a Research Analyst at Florida TaxWatch, and was the first recipient of the Dr. Neil S. Crispo Fellowship at TaxWatch. She earned a Master’s degree in Criminology from Florida State University, and graduated from Tulane University with a B.S. in Psychology in 2012.

See Elle's full bio


106 N. BRONOUGH ST., TALLAHASSEE, FL 32301     |     TEL: 850.222.5052     |     FAX: 850.222.7476
TEL: 850.222.5052     |     FAX: 850.222.7476

Media Inquiries:  Contact Leah Courtney by Email or Phone: 850.212.5052

Media Inquiries:
Contact Leah Courtney by Email
or Phone: 850.212.5052

We'll be in the Ponte Vedra area soon!    Join us!