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Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

MiamiHerald / More inmates died in Florida prisons last year than in any other year on record, leaving the state scrambling to identify causes and find solutions. The tally, 428 inmate deaths in 2017, was released late Friday by the Florida Department of Corrections and showed a 20 percent increase over previous years.

The inmates who died were, on average, younger than in previous years.

“A 20 percent spike in prison deaths is of course alarming, as is the fact that it’s younger inmates that are dying, rather than people who have been in there for decades,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida American Civil Liberties Union. “But I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. Many of these are under investigations. And there’s multiple causes.”

Those who died in 2017 averaged 56.3 years of age. Since 2012, the average age of death in the prison system has swung between 57.1 and 58.2 years old.

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