Overcrowding in Americas Prison system analysis

Essay by chudUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2005

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Prison Overcrowding

Overcrowding in Americas prison system is a relatively new phenomenon. It has been in its current, problematic state since the 1970's. The problem of prison overcrowding has not come from higher crime rates. The majority of the changes have come from new policies on who to lock and for what. The attitude of locking up criminals because they are "bad" is what spawned this. Because of this attitude the prison system in America is in need of serious reorganization. Since 1980 most states have one or more of their prisons or the entire system under orders from the federal courts to maintain minimum constitutional standards.(www.findarticles.com/prisonreform.com) The fiscal effects of trying to fund such a system have not been fully felt on our society and the problem of keeping humane and decent conditions in the prisons is equally problematic. New legislation is going to have to be passed to overturn the current policies we have now.

This issue has many branched out effects on society such as taxes, lawmaking, and law enforcement. All of these things and more will be and are affected by this issue.

Prisons in the United States are funded by taxes. The average cost of locking someone up is over $30,000 a year. The high costs are not just for the prisoners needs but for security personnel and the physical plant. In 1995 governmental units collectively spent 5.1 billion dollars for the construction of new prisons and jail space and for every 100 million spent it is estimated that it will cost 1.6 billion over the next 3 decades to finance and operate (www.tgorski.com). Taxpayers foot this bill and even though crime rates are going down they do not seem to feel any safer than before.

The role of the correctional administrator is an important...