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“Inside California’s overcrowded prisons.
Because we’ve been trying to “incarcerate our way” out of crime for so long, federal and state prisons and county jails are experiencing near-crisis levels of overcrowding. At the same time, operating budgets have been severely cut, as has funding to build new facilities. And over the next two years, researchers predict the situation will get even worse.
Since 1926, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has sponsored the collection of imprisonment data in the United States while the data was collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet, collection of national imprisonment data became highly noted in the literature during the early 1970s as prison overcrowding became apparent. Little had changed at the state and federal prison levels from 1970 to 2009. However, in 2010 the overall U.S. prison population declined by 0.3 percent; notably, it was the first decline since 1972.
about jail and prison overcrowding statistics.
Many people may think this issue does not affect them, but the problem becomes important when overcrowding forces prisoners to be granted early release.
Based on current projections, by 2011 the U.S. prison population will increase by 13% – which is triple the growth of the entire population as a whole – to more than 1.7 million . Supporting that increase in incarcerated people will cost American taxpayers and local/state budgets an estimated $27.5 billion. At that time, another 4 million people will also be on probation or parole.
Other key factors that affect jail and prison overcrowding are:
In 2006, approximately 26 percent (8,670) of individuals accused of murder or manslaughter received a sentence of life in prison. The “getting tough” climate among legislators has contributed significantly to prison overcrowding. Research has indicated that the tougher the criminal justice policies are, the higher the number of inmates is expected to be. Moreover, it has even been reported in some studies that tougher experiences in prison may predict recidivism effects.
In the 1970s the United States developed harsher sentencing and policies related to incarceration that continue to impact current correctional systems. In 1990 approximately 829,340 individuals were convicted on felony charges in state courts. By 1998 this number increased to approximately 927,720, and in 2006 the number continued to increase to 1,132,290 individuals. The trend in sentencing has been toward lengthening and mandating prison terms, especially for drug offenders. Federal felony drug offenders may receive an average sentence of seven years and three months.
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Thesis Statement On Overcrowding Prisons Free Essays
Collateral cost can be conceptualized as the effect incarceration has on the lives of those being incarcerated as well as their families and social supports. It has been estimated that approximately 54 percent of incarcerated individuals are parents of minors. This includes about 120,000 mothers and approximately 1 million fathers. Research has shown that children with incarcerated parents are more likely to perform poorly in school settings. Issues of loss and abandonment, little or no attachment, and ongoing poor health care may be experienced by parent and child. When former inmates come back into society, they are expected to deal with social demands and responsibilities. Most have to find job opportunities to cover any financial obligations that were pending or court-related fees. Any social network or working skills that were present before incarceration may have eroded. In addition, individuals out of prison must confront social stigma. Thus, finding jobs may be difficult. The wages of a former male inmate are reduced by 11 percent, and annual earnings are decreased to 40 percent. These adversities experienced by former inmates and other criminogenic factors have a link to recidivism and thus, prison overcrowding. Criminogenic factors include high substance abuse, changes to laws, harsher penalties for certain crimes, unaffordable bails, poverty, patterns of immigration, lack of support in the home environment, and unemployment.
Thesis Statement On Overcrowding Prisons
System wide, it has been reported that the BOP has exceeded its current maximum capacity by 39 percent. Specifically, the increase in incarceration has affected the infrastructure of the federal prisons, particularly because the BOP has an accumulation of 154 pending modernization and repair projects that were estimated to cost $349 million in 2012. In 2000, the ratio of inmate to BOP staff was four inmates to one staff member. However, it has been estimated that the ratio increased in 2005 to five inmates to one BOP staff member. Moreover, when looking at the ratio of inmates to correctional officers, the numbers appear to be much worse. This ratio was noted to be 11 inmates to one correctional officer in 2004 and 2005. Such low ratios of BOP staff and correctional officers per inmates have contributed to the deterioration of the BOP’s facilities and the safety of inmates and staff. In addition to the economic cost and its impact on prisons themselves, prison overcrowding creates collateral costs.
Overcrowding in our Prison System - Mega Essays
Many people believe that overcrowding is the most dangerous and significant problem facing correctional institutions today. Discuss the causes of prison overcrowding. Explain the health and safety issues to not only the inmates and prison staff, but also to the general public as a whole. Provide a comprehensive plan which provides multiple solutions to this issue. Beyond increasing governmental spending on correctional facilities, what steps can be taken to reduce prison overcrowding and protect the public in the long and short term? How will legislative bodies and criminal courts need to be involved in a comprehensive prison population reduction plan? You may supplement your research with interviews of people connected to the prison industry, government and/or politics.
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