Overcrowding in Prisons

In: Social Issues

Submitted By chipper
Words 1201
Pages 5
Overcrowding in Prisons.

Overcrowding in prisons is one of the biggest challenges facing the American criminal justice system today. The total population of prisons and jails in the United States neared the 2.1 million mark in June 2003, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported incarceration rates of state and federal prisoners continued to rise. At midyear 2003, the number of sentenced inmates was 480 per 100,000 U.S. residents, up from 476 per 100,000 on December 31, 2002. There were 238 jail inmates for every 100,000 on June 30, 2003. Overall, one out of every 140 U.S residents was incarcerated in prison or in jail. During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s state and local governments got tougher on crime by passing legislation calling for mandatory sentences for repeat offenders, such as California’s “three strikes you’re out” law and New York and other cities adopted the “Broken Windows” strategy that called for the arrest and prosecution of all crimes large and small. Because of these polices the number of violent crimes has dropped. Unfortunately, one unintended consequence of America’s new tough stance on crime is that our prison system has become dangerously overcrowded, forcing prison officials to release violent criminals after serving only a fraction of their sentences. The current system used to relieve overcrowding has created a “revolving door” criminal justice system. The recidivism rate among those released early from state and county prisons is extremely high. In fact, a Department of Justice study found that 67.5 percent of criminals released from prison were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within…...

Similar Documents

Prison Overcrowding

... Prison Overcrowding Prison overcrowding is a problem largely attributed to the increase of drug convictions. Decades of tough-on-crime laws coupled with minimal financing for treatment programs have left prisons overcrowded and under funded. With the advent of crack cocaine and the response of a scared nation President Ronald Reagan declared a war on drugs in 1982 (Clear, Cole, & Reisig, 2009). In 1987 congress implemented mandatory minimum sentencing effectively increasing the time served for drug offenses. The war on drugs has succeeded in increasing the amount of drug offenders incarcerated. In 1985 the average state drug offense sentence was 13 months, in 2002 that number jumped to 48 months. The government’s efforts to succeed have come at a high cost. State budgets and prison populations have exceeded their respective maximums, although crime rates and drug abuse numbers have dropped, the number of inmates incarcerated continues to rise. A possible solution to the overcrowding issue within prison is to insist a mandatory minimum law reform. This solution would be aimed at not only reducing the amount of time spent in the corrections system but also increasing the amount of drugs needed to qualify for the offense. Currently in the state of Kentucky if you sell a half a gram of cocaine you could get a possible sentence of 5-10 years for a class C felony; a possible alternative to this sentence is currently being considered. Under the possible new......

Words: 804 - Pages: 4

Prison Overcrowding

...Prison Overcrowding Les Heflin Bryant & Stratton College CRJU150: Corrections Mrs. Anderson November 22, 2011 Prison Overcrowding The United States is considered the most punitive country in the world, has the world’s highest incarceration rate holding more than 2.3 million people and overcrowding has become a major problem for the prison system (Parole Reform, 2010, ¶ 2). There are 748 people inmates per 100,000 population and rising (Parole Reform, 2010, ¶ 10). There are reasons such as the three strike law, the economy, and the war on drugs. We are going to glance at these reasons and the problems that raise concern for overcrowded prisons. The three strike law that many states have adopted affects the prison population, giving repetitive offenders mandatory minimum sentences of 25 years to life for the third conviction of a felony offense. The three strike law that holds this harsh penalty will continue to cause prison overcrowding in years to come. There are some states prisons are operating at almost twice their designed capacity rate. The belief behind the law was that getting career criminals off the streets was good public policy, but many in many cases we may argue that this is cruel and unusual punishment. The downward spiral of the economy also affects the prison population. There are limited jobs to people in society, especially to people that have been convicted with serious crimes. People that have been incarcerated for various......

Words: 514 - Pages: 3

Prison Overcrowding

...large majority are non-violent offenders. According to Adam Liptak in his article “U.S. Prison Population Dwarfs that of Other Nations,” “The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College London.” Americans are often locked up for things such as using drugs or writing a bad check. Sending someone to prison should be our last resort because it’s expensive and can increase risk for future criminal behavior. Yet, even as the crime rates decrease, prisons are still overcrowded. The reason for this, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council in the article “Prison Overcrowding,” is: During the late 1980s and early 1990s, state and local governments passed tough crime legislation. For example, California passed the “three strikes and you’re out” law which called for mandatory sentencing of repeat offenders, and New York adopted the “Broken Windows” strategy that called for the arrest and prosecution of all crimes large and small. Policy such as this led to reduced crime rates, but increased populations in jails and prisons. While mandatory sentencing laws are being passed, laws criminalizing an increasing number of behaviors are also being passed. The result is that, not only are judges forced to send people to prison in cases where it might not be necessary, but they are forced to do so because......

Words: 1300 - Pages: 6

Prison Overcrowding

...Prison Overcrowding Final Project Terence Ingram Professor Karina Arzumanova, Esq. March 17, 2013 Strayer University Prison Overcrowding Final Project Criminal Activity is on the rise. With prison populations growing at an all-time rate, the federal prison system has not been able to keep up. As a result, this is a serious problem which puts inmates and guards in danger and holds back efforts to rehabilitate convicts. (McLaughlin, 2012) Violence will be on the rise as more inmates are squeezed into small living quarters. Increased inmate misconduct is a direct result of prison overcrowding which negatively affects the safety and security of inmates and staff. If prisons don’t find a solution to this problem, it will create more tension and could potentially cause an inmate to snap and create a violent incident. With more prisoners confined in small spaces, prison officials are forced to cut back on inmate’s cafeteria time, time in the recreation yards, and television rooms. Multiple inmates are put in cells that were specifically created for one individual inmate. Common areas that were not meant to be used for inmates are being used for living arrangements even though it was not designed for that. Crowded cells and the loss of privacy increase the odds that inmates will lash out, threatening the guards keeping watch. ( McLaughlin, 2012) Policies have been put in place to make sure that inmates are not being violated. Some may say that overcrowding in prisons is......

Words: 3300 - Pages: 14

Prison Overcrowding and the War on Drugs

...Thanks to (SARA) we now know the causes of found in the American prison system but how could we possibly fix this problem all well trying to decrease the cost prisons put on the taxpayers. Well there are several possibilities which includes letting first offenders and non-violent offenders off on community service shortening prison sentences for low-level offenders and transferring inmates with mental illness is over to Mental Health Institute. By implementing the solutions we can see a decrease in the prison population with hardly any extra cost to the tax payers. The American prison system currently houses over 1.5 million people and according to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics 47 percent of all prisoners in the US is incarcerated for nonviolent crimes. That means that roughly 750,000 people who have never posted violent threats to are currently incarcerated. Imagine if instead of receiving prison sentences these offenders receive court ordered community service hours. These offenders could serve anywhere from 100 service hours to several 2000 service hours depending on the crime. The majority of the fender sign would then be spent working for non-profit organizations and working to benefit the community. We would see an overall benefit in the community and can serve as a warning to the offenders that far worse is to come should they decide to become repeat offenders. That solutions take care of nonviolent offenders but what do we do about offenders who...

Words: 594 - Pages: 3

Prison Overcrowding

...Prison Overcrowding is a Financial Burden John Doe AIU Online Abstract This paper explores the causes of why not enough inmates are getting the rehabilitation needed to succeed outside prison walls. It may be a lot cheaper to provide them with programs than to house them for minor offences. Lastly, this paper will look at the cost effects of housing these prisoners and what kind of programs are offered while prisoners are serving their time. Without the proper rehabilitation, the result will be that our jails will stay overcrowded and cause a financial burden on all of America. Prison Overcrowding is a Financial Burden Something needs to be done about prison overcrowding and the lack of rehabilitation programs. Without proper rehabilitation, prisoners become repeat offenders. This means we have to build new faculties just to keep up with the overcrowding. The current cost to our nation to incarcerate inmates is $30 billion per year, which is expected to quadruple in the next decade (Crawford, 2003). The result is that prison overcrowding is a serious financial burden for Americans. Rehabilitation First, prison overcrowding is a financial burden because prisoners are not getting enough rehabilitation to transition back to society. The responsibility of the Bureau of Prisons is to safely confine its prisoner population. However, another mission of the Bureau is to rehabilitate: to provide inmates with......

Words: 786 - Pages: 4

Prison Overcrowding

...Benefits of Reducing Prison Overcrowding Laura Macella AIU Online Abstract This paper is going to discuss the benefits of why reducing the overcrowding of prisons with help the inmates, employees, as well as the citizens of the state. It will show that crime within the prison walls will go down, the stress of the inmates and employees will reduce, as well as showing that we can save taxpayers millions of dollars a year. Lastly, this paper will look at programs that the inmates can be sentenced to for minor petty crimes that they are incarcerated for. As a result of all of this the overcrowding of prisons may come to a halt and may not be as stressful as many people think. Benefits of Reducing Prison Overcrowding When thinking about prison overcrowding it kind of makes you want to cringe and hope you never have to be in that situation, however, in each state it is very common and is causing unbearable situations and long term effects for many people. Reducing prison overcrowding can help many employees of the prison, citizens, and inmates in many ways. At this point we can put a stop to the overcrowding and try to make the judges and court systems realize that it will be beneficial to all parties involved. First of all, by reducing overcrowding in prison it will help reduce crime and murder within the prison facilities. Prisons right now have caused more aggressive, antisocial behavior that is causing a lot of violence (“Effects of Prison Overcrowding”, 2012).......

Words: 1346 - Pages: 6

Prison Overcrowding in the Us

... Prison Overcrowding in the US Name: Institutional Affiliation: Prison Overcrowding in the US Introduction Prison overcrowding in the US is a serious problem that has remained elusive for many decades. The problem of prison overcrowding emerged since the invention of prison as correctional facilities in the 19th century and until now; it is still troubling the authorities. Overcrowding in modern prisons is multidimensional problem. Various reasons are blamed for the challenge but they significantly differ from one nation to the other. Causes of prison overcrowding are not limited to the bounds of criminal justice but stretch to other facets of authorities including social welfare plans, availability and ease of access to health services, formal education and job opportunities. Debates on how to handle this issue on political platforms is an enough illustration of the problems political leaders undergo in looking for a lasting solution challenged by increased pressure from court orders and rigorous financial crisis. It is therefore evident that it is much easier to have overcrowded prisons than it is to develop and implement effective and efficient ways to manage overcrowding in prisons. Overcrowding in prisons is a broad problem that is centered on issues of policies and crime research. These issues involve criminal sentencing, the role of correctional facilities and sentences, accommodation of prisoners with access to health care and rehabilitation services and......

Words: 2427 - Pages: 10

Prison Overcrowding

...Prescott Jackie Corbit English 100 29 June 2014 Prison Overcrowding: Here in America Are we as a nation overcrowding our prisons and also making it inhumane for the prisoners who are now incarcerated? The United States is considered to have the highest incarceration rate in the world holding roughly 2.4 million people and the overcrowding of the inmates has become a major problem for the prison system. With the overcrowding in the prisons here in America the inmates have less to go around. For example, there are less opportunities for those who would like to improve or rehabilitate themselves such as academic, vocational training and employment are decreased. Many of the inmates that are sitting idle with these limited available resources tend to become restless and have disorderly behavior outbreaks. Findings have also indicated that people who are in situations of over crowdedness there tends to be more aggression and competition for resources with less cooperation and more social withdrawal. When prisoners are denied resources, they are frustrated which can lead to violence, aggression and resentment. Another effect the prisoners have with the increased population in the prisons is that it leads to illnesses and suffering. There is a worsening of prison conditions such as sanitation and failure to have basic services such as healthcare. These have been a factor in most of the unhealthy living conditions within the prisons. Many prisoners have been in contact with......

Words: 786 - Pages: 4

Overcrowding of Prisons

...Running Head: OVERCROWDING OF PRISONS 1 Overcrowding of Prisons Don Bailey SOC 305 Crime & Society Ekaterina Gorislavsky 25 May, 2015 - 1 - [no notes on this page] Running Head: OVERCROWDING OF PRISONS 2 Abstract The correctional institutions are established to correct the behaviors by law breakers. Society believes that once an individual comes out of the correctional facility, he is a reformed person. In addition, these facilities are always expected to warn the law abiding citizens to deter them from committing a crime for fear of being in the correctional cells. However, the population in the correction facilities especially prisons is contrary to this expectation. Over time, there is increased number of offenders. This comprises of the new offenders and the repeat offenders. This causes overcrowding in the correctional facilities which is a challenge to the society. The focus of this problem is the social effect of overcrowding to the judicial system and ways of addressing the challenge. Overcrowding in correctional institutions Crime is punishable for three reasons namely retribution, prevention and deterrence. The main purpose of incarcerating offenders is to stop them from repeating previous crimes they committed. Appraising the current American system using these standards, the deterrence category has failed miserably, insufficient in prevention and providing unsatisfactory retribution through detention. Attempts to deter released......

Words: 1432 - Pages: 6

Prison Overcrowding

...activities among Americans are on a constant rise compared to other parts of the world, leading to overcrowding in prisons. The contributing factor to this notion could be strict punishments for minor crimes, some pertaining to racial profiling. According to Hernandez (March-April 2009), African Americans represent nearly half of the prison population. The “war on drugs” has made a significant impact on the prison population, particularly within the African American communities. The war on drugs is aimed at reducing the supply and demand for drugs within the United States. The program focuses on stricter punishments for those who deal drugs and for those who use them. According to research conducted by Shaw (2000), African-Americans account for about 14 percent of the nation's drug users, yet they make up 35 percent of those arrested for drug possession, 55 percent of those convicted for drug possession, and 74 percent of those sentenced to serve time. To prevent overcrowding in prison, non violent drug users or dealers should be put in some sort of treatment facility and not prison. Miller (2002) suggests that a major contributing factor to jail overcrowding is the lack of employment in the judiciary system, both locally and nationally, and those receiving harsh punishments for minor crimes, which is a prime indicator that non-violent drug users and dealers do not belong in prison. Aside from the long-range social effects of this situation, we have not yet fully......

Words: 765 - Pages: 4

Prison Overcrowding

...Prison overcrowding, also called "prison crowding," is a matter of great contention and concern in current criminal justice public policy debates in both Canada and the United States. Coming to public attention as a social problem most recently in the United States in the late 1970s, prison overcrowding has coincided with the unprecedented growth in the nation's prison population over the past several decades. Because of the "war on drugs" and mandatory sentencing, the United States has become the world's foremost jailer. With just 5 percent of the world's population, the United States has 25 percent of its prisoners, approximately 2.4 million, a number that steadily increases by about 3 percent each year. In 2006, federal prisons were operating at 37 percent above capacity. The criminal justice system responded to what some jurisdictions call the "crisis" of prison overcrowding through diversion strategies, relying more heavily on jails for the overflow of prisoners, doubling up prisoners in one cell (also called double bunking), hotly debated early release strategies, and an increasing reliance on private (for-profit) prisons, to name a few. However, policy focus on capacity issues sometimes detracts from the actual conditions of privacy, security, and manageability (including meeting basic needs for nutrition, health, and sanitation) within prisons. In 2006, the Vera Institute of Justice's Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons held public hearings,......

Words: 933 - Pages: 4

Overcrowding in Prisons

...Overcrowding in Prisons By Wendy Michaud PRES111 ~ Unit 2 IP American InterContinental University April 1, 2012 Abstract I think we are somewhat aware of the overcrowding in jails and prisons. There are more people incarcerated than we have room for in the United States. Although some states are far worse off than others this is a serious problem none the less. There are plans to fix this problem but not at the speed people would like. Topic: Overcrowded prisons are a problem for many different reasons. Most people are already aware of this problem, either they read it in a newspaper or saw it somewhere on the television. This is not just a local problem, it is almost everywhere. Are there reasons why this continues to happen, and has this situation improved through out the years? Are there things us as a society can do to change overcrowding in prisons? These are questions we should ask ourselves considering tax payers are the people that pay the most for food, shelter, and medical care for all the prisoners that are incarcerated. In the United States prisons the recidivism rate is amazingly high. In 1994, the biggest study of prisoner recidivism that has been ever been completed in the United States proved that, of nearly 300,000 adult prisoners who were released in 15 different states, 67.5 percent were arrested again......

Words: 1187 - Pages: 5

Prison Overcrowding: the Effect It Has on Prison Inmates

...explores prison overcrowding and the negative effects it has on inmates. Prison overcrowding causes the inmates to become more aggressive, results in lack of resources, and lastly, it creates an unsanitary environment for staff and inmates. The inmates are idle for extensive periods of time and being confined to tight living quarters, all this restrained energy may lead to an increase in violence on the staff and other inmates.   Prison Overcrowding: The Effect It Has On Prison Inmates According to the 2009 Bureau of Justice Statistics, they were 7,225,800 offenders under correctional supervision at the end of 2009. Correctional supervision refers to adults supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in state or federal prisons and local jails (Glaze, 2010). Prison overcrowding has become a major concern in recent years and is considered one of the biggest problems faced by the American prison system. It causes harmful effects and consequences for the inmates and prison staff and it is an unpleasant and uncomfortable situation for everyone and is considered a current crisis in America. Overcrowding does not only affect the inmates and the prison staff, but it also affects our economy, the American people, and our lives. Prison overcrowding has several major effects on the daily environment of inmates such as an increase, in violence, lack of resources, and health and sanitary issues. Increase in Violence The first major effect of......

Words: 1445 - Pages: 6

Overcrowding in Prisons

...Overcrowding in prisons American Intercontinental University English Composition ENGL107 Abstract Overcrowding in prisons throughout the United States has become an issue that needs to be more of a concern to our justice system. If we focused on more of the solution then the problem we may be able to eliminate some of the overcrowding issues. We need to be asking ourselves how we can fix the overcrowding issues within the United States prison system. Overcrowding in our prisons Drugs are a major issue along with the strict laws on first time nonviolent drug offenders. We are leaving these people in prison for way to long. Instead of overcrowding our prisons with first time drug and nonviolent offenders, we should be sentencing these men and women to rehabilitation centers and counseling. This should be the first option for the justice system to be considering instead of just locking these men and women up for two to five years and overcrowding the prisons. These first timers need more help to improve their life, and throwing them behind bars is just giving them more criminal activity to learn then they did on the outside. The justice system should be taking severe nonviolent criminals with mental illness more seriously. Instead of just locking them up and throwing away the key, there should be a lot more intense evaluations going on with mental illness with in these men and women. This could solve a lot of the overcrowding if we could......

Words: 485 - Pages: 2