This research produces original empirical estimates of Hispanics in Florida’s Dept. of Corrections (FDOC) and uses those estimates to measure the impact felony disenfranchisement is having on Hispanics in Florida. Research institutions find that data on Hispanics in the criminal justice system, particularly in Florida, is either lacking or inaccurate. This research addresses this problem by applying an optimal surname list method using Census Bureau data and Bayes Theorem to produce an empirical estimate of Hispanics in FDOC’s data. Using the Hispanic rate derived from the empirical FDOC analysis, the rate of Hispanics in the disenfranchised population is estimated. The results reveal that FDOC systematically undercounts Hispanics (and overcounts Whites) by nearly 8 percent—i.e., there are over 2.5 times more Hispanics in FDOC data than actually reported by FDOC. However, even when applying the upward adjusted rate of Hispanics to the disenfranchised population, Hispanics are still underrepresented and less likely to be disenfranchised than their White and Black counterparts in Florida. This research provides an accurate up-to-date state of the data with respect to Hispanics in FDOC; it applies a surname method which other researchers can use to address lacking or inaccurate data on Hispanics in the criminal justice system; and it calls into question research that relies on FDOC’s inaccurate race data. Taken together, these findings might facilitate answers to many pressing questions on felony disenfranchisement in Florida and its impact on the political process.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Wilson, Bruce M.


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

May 2017