Prison Overcrowding

Topics: Prison, Recidivism, Penology Pages: 6 (1175 words) Published: August 12, 2014

Prison Overcrowding
Nicole Neal
American Intercontinental University

This research paper is to explore the impact of prison overcrowding. The United States has a, what seems to be everlasting, prison overcrowding problem. Not only does the United States have this dilemma, but also many other countries have overcrowded prisons as well. Many issues need to be addressed; ways to reduce the prison populations and how to effectively reduce prison cost without jeopardizing community safety are major issues that need attention. Successfully rehabilitating inmates can play an important role in the fight to Prison Overcrowding

There are overcrowded prisons all over the world. In 2011, the United States federal prisons housed around 219,000 inmates. In 1980, the United States federal prison population was 25,000. A total of 1,598,780 adults were incarcerated in county jails and federal and state prisons at the end of 2011, according to Urban Institute. There are many issues that need to be revisited until there is a solution. A number of impacts are the product of the overcrowded prisons. Health, safety of inmates and correctional staff, as well as, economical problems all need some solution, and quickly. Not only are prisons affected, communities are also directly and indirectly affected by prison overcrowding. Even though the government can’t just start releasing prisoners that haven’t served their full sentences to reduce the populations, the cost of incarceration, the health and safety of inmates and staff, and the affect that overcrowding has on communities are all issues that cannot be put on a back burner. With United States prisons being filled 38 percent above their capacity, some issues are of greater importance than others when it comes to the overcrowding of prisons. How to decrease prison populations is the main objective. California has started a program that has reduced prison populations significantly. Nonviolent, non-serious, non-sexual offenders are sentenced to local facilities like county jails instead of state prison. The Department of Corrections has programs that alternative to incarceration and are more cost effective that have been given more funding in recent years also. The cost of incarceration, and the effect it has on the economy, in the United States is a major issue. It is very costly to house inmates in prison every year. An article in Impaired Driver Update. Show that it cost $27,000 to hold one inmate for a year, and that approximately $50 billion a year is spent on incarceration. It cost 20 times more to have an inmate incarceration than to have them on probation. Of $50 billion dollars spent on correction, $6.8 billion is spent on probation. An article published in Federal Probation in 2013 states, “recidivism rates average between 43 and 67 percent and supervision violators constitute on third of the persons admitted to state correctional facilities,” and “on, average, persons under supervision have five prior arrest; 16 percent violated a federal, state, or local community supervision, and 8 percent have a history of absconding.” Sentencing offenders to alternative programs would help cut cost and also help decrease prison overcrowding. Alternative programs for offenders in lieu of prison or inmate programs that help rehabilitate offenders and prepare them for re-entry could also help prison overcrowding. If inmates are able to attend programs for drug treatment, social disorders, and dealing with issues like abuse as a child the prison population could decrease. Inmates that have successfully rehabilitated have contributed to society and thus show that more money towards rehabilitation instead of incarceration could have a positive impact on population and society. In 2012, supervisees paid around $645 million in restitution, fines, and assessments. They contributed $4 million in community service. If more inmates are successfully...

References: Gershenhorn, Karen & Myers Ryan. 2013. Prison Math. Impaired Driver. Winter 2013. Vol. 17. Issue 1, p 5-19.
Harding, Richard. 1987. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. Australian Academic Press. Mar.1987. Vol. 20 Issue 1, p 50-62.
Mobley, Alan & Owen, Barbara. 2012. Western Criminology Review. Aug. 2012. Volume 13. Issue 2. p 46-57.
Rowland, Mathew. 2013. Federal Probation. Sept. 2013. Volume 77. Issue 2. p 12-12.
Schiffner, Bill. 2013. Corrections Forum. July/Aug 2013. Vol. 22. Issue 4, p. 38-39
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