Prison Overcrowding talks about why prisons are overcrowded, and solutions to it

Essay by pat870High School, 12th gradeA-, May 2004

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The prison system in an integral part of every country. In order for a country to provide safety for its citizens, the prison system must be operating smoothly. Prison overcrowding occurs when a penitentiary must accommodate more inmates than it was originally built for. Overcrowding in prisons is a major obstacle in providing complete safety for Canadian citizens. Currently of the 49 federal institutions in Canada, 28 are considered to be overcrowded (8 of 13 in Ontario are overcrowded) (Correctional Services Canada). Overcrowding leads to the loss of much needed federal money, dangerous conditions for both prisoners and guards alike, and to the early release of many violent offenders. In order to fix the problem of prison overcrowding in Canada, it is imperative to create better rehabilitation programs, sentence less inmates to imprisonment, and implement capital punishment.

A very large amount of money is spent annually on the prison system.

This includes the maintenance of prisons, employment of staff, but most importantly the cost to imprison an inmate. Prison overcrowding drastically increases the sum of money needed to operate prisons. With more inmates comes the need for a greater number of facilities, the construction of new prisons is an enormous expense for the government. The growing prison population means that there are more inmates who must be looked after; consequently more guards must be hired to accommodate the growth. Currently it costs anywhere from $ 17,000 to $20,000 (Correctional Services Canada) annually to incarcerate an inmate. In many cases older inmates who are serving life sentences cost upwards of $50,000 annually to incarcerate (Hassine 172). Presently there are over 12,000 inmates in federal penitentiaries (Correctional Services Canada), this costs the federal government over twenty-four million dollars to merely take care of the inmates. This cost does not include...