How Prison Overcrowding Affects State Budgets
By: Clarissa Taylor
JUST 6510/ JPS Planning & Budgeting
April 18, 2015
This paper will discuss how state and federal budgets are affected by the overcrowding of prisons. I chose this topic mainly because I use to work for the Alabama Department of Corrections from 2002 to 2005 as a Correctional Officer I. During the time I was employed for the department, I witness a lot of overcrowding in Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. Things had gotten so bad due to the number of women whom were now committing crimes and Julia Tutwiler being the only female prison for women in the state of Alabama, overcrowding was bound to happen. As effect of the overcrowding at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women some of the inmates were sent to Louisiana to a private prison to be housed. During this transition the inmate population did not take this change very well. On the first night that the buses came to transport some of the inmates who custody level was minimum to Louisiana, I thought that we were going to have a riot in dorm nine. Some inmates’ busted windows in dorm nine stood on their bunks and chanted songs in a rebellious nature. The warden had to call in the riot team to regain calm over dorm nine and the facility as a whole. This was the hardest time for me as a Correctional Officer I, security was at all time high. Inmates’ tempers were flaring because they felt as if the system were breaking up their prison families. However, after the initial transporting of inmates to the Louisiana facility the inmates were more open to the idea of change. The state of Alabama paid the private prison in Louisiana for their services of housing female inmates from the state of Alabama. After numerous transportation trips of inmates to Louisiana from Julia Tutwiler Prison the inmate to officer ratio was brought down to a more reasonable number. It still wasn’t at the level that the prison was designed for but it did help for the time being. Privatized prisons are on the rise now due to the overcrowding of state and some federal prisons. My husband is employed as a detention officer for the city of Hoover, Alabama and they house some federal inmates they adhere to a different set of rules than that of the state inmates that are held there.
Lieutenant D. C. Wilson is a retired lieutenant for the Alabama Department of Corrections. He was employed with many facilities throughout his career with the department. I interviewed Lt. Wilson on how the facility that he was employed with felt the effects of overcrowding when it came to funding. Below are some of the questions that were asked: 1. What made you become a correctional officer? “I have always wanted to do something in the law enforcement field. I’ve always had a passion for the law and enforcing the law. I knew at a very young age that I would be working is this field. Therefore when I was coming up as a young black man in Troy, Alabama I always had in my head that I wouldn’t do anything to tarnish me not having a record.” 2. How long was your training? “When I went through the academy in Selma, Alabama training was eleven weeks of physical and academic learning. You had to be in shape and you had to study. It is a lot more to it than what most people think. It is the same training that a lot of law enforcement personnel get. The only difference is we cannot arrest the public.” 3. What was the first facility that you were employed with? “The first facility that I was employed with after I graduated from the academy was West Jefferson which is now Donaldson. It is level six camp for male inmates; the highest level in terms of degree of violent offenders being housed there. I learned a lot at West Jefferson, it made me an alert young officer.” 4. How many facilities were you employed with during your employment with the department? “I was employed at six different camps during my employment with the Alabama...
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