by Sam Matthew (MDes ’18)
Inspired by the Million Dollar Block project, this project uses publicly available data from the Florida Department of Corrections, to map i) the address of every person released from prison into Miami Dade since 1999, and ii) the amount of money the state has spent to incarcerate each individual.
The maps reveal profound social and racial inequalities in Miami. The state has spent millions of dollars incarcerating people who return to the poorest communities in the city. In Overtown, a predominantly African American neighborhood, Florida has “invested” over 10 million dollars incarcerating individuals who live within a single block.
It also reveals how concerns about criminal justice and inequality exacerbate the threat of climate change. To resist these dangers, the project advocates for a strategy of Retreat, Protect and Reinvest:
Retreat: not only is mass incarceration detrimental to Miami, but Miami is detrimental to mass incarceration. Seven prisons and detention centers in Miami Dade County are likely to flood thanks to sea level rise, providing an opportunity to close facilities.
Protect: inclusive planning provisions for existing homeless shelters, half way housing and affordable housing is required to protect high ground sites with high numbers of formerly incarcerated people from “climate gentrification.”
Reinvest: a restorative justice policy would involved a spatial policy heavily in community networks, faith groups, restorative justice courts, transformative justice programs and alternative sentencing programs.