Jail Overcrowding

Topics: Prison, Mandatory sentencing, Penology Pages: 5 (1209 words) Published: April 30, 2010
The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act Will Stop Prison Overcrowding

General Purpose: To persuade
Specific Purpose: To persuade the audience that accepting The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act is the best method to stop prison overcrowding. Main Idea: The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act, also known as NORA, will solve the prison overcrowding problem that is primarily caused by mandatory sentences for nonviolent criminals.


A.As you can see from this video:

B.The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act, also known as NORA, will solve the prison-overcrowding problem that is primarily caused by mandatory sentences for nonviolent criminals.

C.I am going to explain how NORA will put an end to prison overcrowding by: 1.Reiterating the problems associated with prison overcrowding 2.Illustrating the primary cause of prison overcrowding

3.Describing the benefits that will result from accepting proposition 5.


A.Prison overcrowding creates inadequate healthcare for inmates, threatens the safety of Americans, and inhibits the rehabilitation of convicts.

1.Due to the increasing number of prisoners in American jails, we do not have sufficient facilities or funding to provide the necessary health accommodations. The Vera Institute, for example, is a nonprofit organization that works with government to improve various injustices. According to their research, “the wait for [medical] treatment often outlasts a prisoner’s sentence” (Gibbons 93). Not only does overcrowding threaten the health of inmates, it also jeopardizes public safety.

2.After finding out that California prisons were running at double their capacities, federal judges ordered that the state reduce its prisoners by about 40,000 (Liptak). Considering majority of the drug related sentences are mandatory, they may have to release prisoners who committed crimes such as armed robbery, homicide, breaking and entering, and sexual assault. These criminals may have been reformed in prison, but this is unlikely considering prison rehabilitation and reform programs are inefficient due to overcrowding.

3.Research done by the University of Pennsylvania found that prisoners who graduated from college programs during their incarceration were “50% less likely to be rearrested, and 60% less likely to be re-incarcerated” (Hall). Yet, in the past, Congress has banned prisoners from such programs because of lack of funding due to overcrowding. By 1997, for example, “fewer than 2% of prisoners were enrolled” in educational programs (Erisman). Before these programs can be initiated, however, we must first deal with the cause of prison overcrowding.

B.Prison overcrowding is primarily caused by mandatory drug sentences.

1.In my opinion, the primary reason for prisons is to keep dangerous criminals off of the streets. The government, on the other hand, seems to think it is more important to keep petty drug dealers in their prisons.

2.According to the Drug Policy Alliance Network, which is one of the nation’s leading organizations on the war on drugs, the mandatory drug policy resulted in, “more than 80 percent of the increase in the federal prison population from 1985 to 1995.” And , “the U.S. Sentencing Commission reports that only 11 percent of federal drug defendants are high-level drug dealers.” This means that about 90% of the 80% increase of inmates are harmless street dealers.

3.Instead of just slamming a harmless drug dealer into a jail cell, which ultimately results in releasing the same drug dealer after his or her sentence, policy makers should focus on drug rehabilitation, which will not only stop the problems associated with overcrowding, but also help to stop future drug violators.

C.The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act is the ideal solution to prison overcrowding. 1.According to the Smart Voter, an organization which educates...

Cited: Archibald, Randal. "California, in Financial Crisis, Opens Prison Doors." The New York Times [New York] 23 Mar. 2010. Print.
Erisman, Wendy. “Learning to Reduce Recidivism: A 50-state Analysis of Postsecondary Correctional Education Policy,” Institute for Higher Education Policy, November 2005. Print.
"Facts." Yes on Proposition 5: The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act. NORA CAMPAIGN. Web. 07 Apr. 2010. .
Gibbons, John J. Confronting Confinement. New York: Commission on Safety and Abuse in America 's Prisons, 2006. Print.
Hill, Jim. "Arizona criminals find jail too in- 'tents '" CNN. Cable News Network, 27 July 1999. Web. 5 Apr. 2010. .
Liptak, Adam. "U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations." The New York Times 23 Apr. 2008. Print.
"Mandatory Minimum Sentences." Drug Policy Alliance Network. DPA Network. Web. 5 Apr. 2010. .
Moore, Solomon. "The Prison Overcrowding Fix." The New York Times [New York] 10 Feb. 2010. Print.
"Proposition 5: Nonviolent Drug Offenses, Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation." Smart Voter. 04 Nov. 2008. Web. 07 Apr. 2010. .
"Prison Overcrowding: Treatment, Not Jail Time, Is Answer." Central PA Local News. Penn Live, 21 Aug. 2009. Web. 05 Apr. 2010. .
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