This blog is part of a larger multimedia project I’m undertaking for my Master’s thesis at the University of Miami. Using video, photography, infographics and interactives, I’ll be examining the current state of Florida’s death row system.
I first became interested in the topic while doing research for a collection of video stories on Florida. I was looking at issues that were troublesome for the state and was surprised to learn that Florida’s death row is the second largest in the nation, behind California. There are several possible explanations for this, such as Florida’s location in the strip of states called “The Death Belt” or the fact that unlike states like Texas, Florida doesn’t execute many people each year. But whatever the reason, Florida’s death row keeps getting bigger and the people on it remain there for longer and longer.
Another fact that fascinated me is that Florida leads the nation in death row exonerations. For some reason, there are a significant number of people in Florida sentenced to death that are later found innocent of the crimes they were accused of. I struggled to determine why this was the case, but so far I have only raised more questions than I have answered.
This project is an attempt to answer some of these questions and to take a long, hard look at Florida’s death row. I’ll be talking to attorneys, lawmakers, current death row inmates and their families, exonerees, activists, wardens and anyone else willing to sit down with me. This is not meant to be a pro or anti death penalty project. It is meant to be an honest look at a system most know little about. My hope is that I’ll answer some questions, raise a few new ones and inspire discussion about a topic that is shrouded in silence.
Eventually this blog will be incorporated with the site I’ll be creating to house all the project materials, but for now, just bear with me. Thanks for joining and I look forward to sharing my findings with you.
P.S. Debate and dialogue is strongly encouraged, however, please abide by the guidelines listed here.