Prison Overcrowding

Topics: Crime, Prison, Criminology Pages: 7 (1704 words) Published: June 12, 2015

Prison Overcrowding
Nicole Galarza
DeVry University

Prison recidivism continually grows in the United States, resulting in prison overcrowding. The government struggles to find ways to address the conditions in prisons, researcher have begun to look at alternatives to placing offenders in the system. These alternatives can result in lowering crime rate, recidivism and the overall prison population. The numbers of people in the United States that have spent time in prison causes an enormous problem and cost for every state.

Prison Overcrowding
The downward spiral the economy has taken affects the prison population. There are fewer jobs for people in society, especially people that have been convicted with serious crimes. People that have records with various offences and they have re-entered back into society that is economically suffering end up back in the judicial system due to the lack of employment. Parolees that have been re-incarcerated for minor violations also have contributed to prison overcrowding. Parolees re-enter into society with a criminal record which makes it difficult to find a legitimate job. If there is no legitimate job to assist them in making a living they often turn to illegitimate means to make up the difference. Prison overcrowding is a major factor to continual problems including: reduced staff morale, security and control difficulties, staff and inmate wellbeing problems, increased levels of conflict and a failure of rehabilitation resulting in increased re-offending. There are many ways to improve the overcrowding issue in prisons. Many of the problems can be reduced by reducing the idleness of inmates, improving sanitation, and training staff member’s good communication skills. The judicial system should provide alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders such as parole, probation, and rehabilitative programs.

The hardest part in the criminal justice system is sentencing criminals for the crimes they have committed. The purpose of sentencing is to make the punishment harsh enough to deter the criminal away from ever repeating the crime they committed. Sometimes criminals make this hard because they have rights and some need rehabilitation. Prisons role is one formed from the strict environment where sentenced people are held for a period of time. The difference in life conditions are stricter, as well as restricted, forces on the sentenced person and has a correctional and educational function on the consciousness of a person. Prisoners’ freedoms and rights are restricted and the offender is placed on a strict living schedule. They are forced to obey the rules of the facility and earn a short period of time with visiter and at times early release.

Recidivism is the scapegoat used to prove people never change. Recidivism rates sore yearly and show the majority of inmates re-enter within three years of being released. Many prisons now offer educational programs and make it worth the time and effort which could potentially drop recidivism rates in the following years. Prison inmates are mostly non-violent crimes that were committed and will be re-joining society at some point. How we protect society is to lock these offenders up with someone who has committed a more serious crime. Released persons will have a harder time mixing into mainstream society and feels it would be perfectly normal human reaction to lash out in pain of their experience, so making no-violent convicted criminal who is only harming himself.

Strategies aimed at decongesting prisons are faced by challenges among them how to explain the introduction of changes in punishing criminals and passing of paroles where public increase their demands for more security services are more contented with long prison sentences and restriction on the part of criminals. In addition, many states face financial hurdles thus the scarce resources are directed to more pressing...

References: Austin, J. (2007). Downsizing Prisons: How To Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration. In Punishment & Society (pp. 105-107). New York: Person Education.
Handbook on Strategies to Reduce Overcrowding in Prisons. (2013, August 4). Retrieved from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: reform/Overcrowding_in_prisons_Ebook.pdf
Peak, K. J. (2012). Policing America Challenges and Best Practices. New Jersey: Pearson Education.
S.D., L. (1996). The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence From Prison Overcrowding Litigation. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 319-351.
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