Over Crowding in Our Prison System
Unit 6 Project
If asked about the number of inmates in the United States prison system, one may be surprised to learn that the number has grown by 261 percent in the last 29 years. According to the Bureau for Justice Statistics, the number of adult federal and state prison inmates increased from 139 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 502 per 100,000 in 2009. Over two million Americans are now incarcerated in prisons or jails and the total number of Americans under some form of penal supervision (including jail, prison, parole, and probation) is over 7.2 million. (Wilson, 2012)With these numbers in mind, what kind of ideas could be presented that could change our legal system to eliminate the overcrowding? Does the way that we sentence our criminals or how we parole these inmates make a difference? One may ask if every crime should be punished the same regardless of circumstance? Should a person with an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) serve the same amount of time in prison if they did not harm anyone as someone with the same OWI charge that injured another? If the answer is no, then what kind of changes need to occur? If no injury took place the criminal may be better off going into some other type of treatment center or probation set up. In the case that the said criminal keeps offending, then the next step would be to incarcerate that person in the traditional prison system. To be able to answer the questions above, one will also need to know how this would affect the public. When young people are incarcerated, the effects last a lifetime, impacting job quality, earnings, assets, home ownership, marriage and family life, public benefits and, in some states, voting rights. When this occurs disproportionally in low income and minority communities, the effects reach far beyond those immediately involved (Wilson, 2012). These problems however are not just affecting young people. The older...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document