Animated Timeline of Mass Incarceration in Florida

“The effect of incarceration is not conclusively positive,” the Florida Legislature declared as it put a statutory ceiling on the state’s prison population in 1983. Though the legislature gave the Department of Corrections a few additional tools to reduce the state’s prison population, it eliminated the most effective mechanisms to release people.

You can read more about the specific policies here.

Florida’s extreme construction spree in the 1990s and 2000s was financed through creative debt practices engineered by the Correctional Privatization Commission, an organization so corrupt it was eventually shut down. Florida’s prisons are over-built, and, even with nearly 100,000 people imprisoned, the system is currently far below design capacity. Few states built prisons like Florida did and, as a result, it is one of the few states where overcrowding has not been a serious concern.

The line graph above is animated using a “curtain” approach. Though the red and blue series appear as if they are being drawn as the animation progresses, in fact there is a white curtain svg element that is slowly shrinking in size to reveal the chart underneath it.