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“Miami is home to many different cultures and is one of the most diverse communities in the country.”



Miami International Airport

Historically, prosecutors and judges relied almost exclusively on punitive measures, most notably jail or prison sentences, to address and deter criminal activity. However, the traditional punitive approach to justice is unduly expensive, does not work as well as it should, and has unnecessary and devastating consequences for lower level offenders and their families. Thus, we do things differently in Miami-Dade County, Florida. We distinguish between offenders who can be rehabilitated from those who present a real, present, and future danger to our society. We strive to rehabilitate those we can help, while incapacitating those who would do our community real harm despite our best efforts to assist them.

In 1989, we created the nation’s first drug court. Since that time, much has changed, though our approach to justice has not. While more and more district attorneys have begun to experiment with what some call “progressive” solutions, strategic remedial measures that reduce crime, improve lives, and save money are a matter of tradition in Miami-Dade County.

Photo: Miami Skyline

We address offenders as individuals and employ an evidence-based outcome-oriented approach that maximizes public safety, makes judicious use of jail space, minimizes unintended collateral consequences, and reduces costs. We call our approach “Miami-Style Smart Justice.”

Miami-Style Smart Justice is an evidence-based, outcome-oriented, medical-legal approach that addresses crime, punishment and rehabilitation in a wholistic manner.

As part of our approach, we regularly review data pertaining to our community, as well as the scientific literature, to identify and understand the issues and possible solutions. We also seek community input and collaborate with local, state, and national experts. In this section of our website, we provide you with some of the data we have collected and examined.

Miami-Dade County Demographics

The United States Census Bureau conducts the American Community Survey to estimate population size and demographics on a regular basis. This chart summarizes the data from the 2019 survey and helps place our other data in context. As the chart reflects, most Miami-Dade County residents are minorities: Nearly 70% of residents are Hispanic and 16% are Black or African American Alone, while less than 14% of residents are White Alone.