The U.S. Census Bureau has announced it will change the way it counts troops deployed overseas, while keeping its policy on counting prisoners for the upcoming national headcount in 2020. How these two populations are factored into the 2020 census could affect the balance of power in government at both the federal and local levels.

Florida Department of Corrections

The Florida Department Of Corrections has started evacuating some of their smaller facilities in South Florida.

While institutions are stocking up on more water and food supplies, some satellite facilities, community work release centers and work camps are evacuating to other DOC facilities. As of Thursday, 5400 inmates had been evacuated according to Michelle Glady, director of communications for the DOC.

Kate Ter Haar/Fickr

Florida has one of the largest prison populations in the U.S. As of 2016, there were 99,000 people incarcerated in the state. The number peaked in 2011 with roughly 102,300 people in prison.

In 2015, Florida tied California for the second highest population of incarcerated women in the United States. The facilities they live in are generally away from population centers, surrounded by rows of fences and razor wire.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

In the family visitor’s lounge, under paintings of Disney cartoon characters, two-dozen incarcerated men at Dade Correctional Institution take turns walking up to a microphone to recite poems they wrote while in prison.

New Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding an Obama-era memo that directed the Justice Department to reduce the use of private prisons, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports

Sessions writes in the order that returning to the Bureau of Prisons' earlier approach would provide flexibility.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Is Krome Detention Center an immigration processing center or a prison for immigrants?

That’s the question University of Miami students looked at as part of a new traveling exhibit about incarceration in America called “States of Incarceration.”

The exhibit currently lines the walls of the Wesley Foundation gallery on the University of Miami Campus. Each panel of the exhibit tackles a question, like “who is the death penalty for?” and “does architecture shape punishment?”

marc cornelis / flickr

How are inmates supposed to transition to the world outside of prison? 

For one pre-release program at the Homestead Correctional Institution, the answer is in entrepreneurship. 

It’s graduation time for some students, as classes wrap up for the holiday season. One such ceremony was held behind the razor wire and locked doors of Dade Correctional Institution in Homestead.

The graduation for the writing classes offered through Exchange for Change was held in the prison’s large recreation room, where murals of Disney characters look down on you. The gathering was a way to share and celebrate what the inmates accomplished over the past semester.

Since her son Tommy went to jail, Dawn Herbert has been trying to see him as much as she can. He's incarcerated less than a 10-minute drive from her house in Keene, N.H. But he might as well be a lot farther.

"He's in that building and I can't get to him," Herbert says.

Dawn's visits probably don't look like what one might picture, where she's sitting across a table, or behind a pane of Plexiglas looking at and talking to her son.

Creative Commons Via Flickr

Private prisons are out for federal inmates, which is bad news for the Boca Raton-based GEO Group.

A memo released Thursday from the U.S. Justice Department said it will be phasing out the use of privately operated prisons, including ones operated by the GEO Group, as soon as possible. Since the announcement, the publicly traded private prison company has seen it’s stocks plummet almost 40 percent by the closing bell.

Michelle Scott, 38, has been arrested at least five times from 2000 to 2007 in Florida, according to court records. Most of her charges stem from stealing cars or some other type of theft. Since her last arrest, Scott has struggled to pull her life together. The mom of a 12-year old boy and an adult daughter, Scott, who is black, struggles with depression, and currently lives in a homeless shelter working less than 20 hours a week as a housekeeper. Because of her criminal history, stable jobs and housing are hard to come by.

Former Prison Guard Arrested For Beating Up Inmate

Sep 22, 2015

A former Suwannee Correctional Institution prison guard was arrested Saturday after being accused of beating up a prisoner and lying about it.

09/21/15 - No one would want to be in such a dilemma . . . but what steps are taken to initiate a prisoner’s clemency, parole, work release . . . or a pardon?

Prison reform may be officially dead this session, but prison reform advocates remain hopeful there will be some meaningful reform for Florida’s troubled prison system.