Effects Of Prison Overcrowding

797 Words4 Pages
Prison overcrowding has become a serious problem at all levels of the U.S. prison system. The size of the U.S. prison population is staggering. The U.S. has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, with one in 35 people in the correctional system. In 2013, it was estimated 6,937,600 adults were in some form of correctional control (Jackson 8). Ethnic minorities, especially African-American males, have higher incarceration rates than others, especially whites; although they are only about 37% of the U.S. population, they are about 65% of those in prison (Jackson 13). Federal inmate populations have increased over 50 percent since 2000, causing a 30% overcrowding rate overall and a 52% rate at high security prisons (United States, Government Accountability Office). Prisons also manage more prisoners with mental health issues, an older prisoner population and more female prisoners (Jackson 9). This brief essay focuses only on U.S. prisons. It reviews factors affecting the increase in the prison population, problems overcrowding generates and offers possible solutions. Overcrowded U.S. prisons are dangerous for inmates and prison staff but possible solutions to overcrowding include higher budgets and staff levels, revised sentence guidelines and laws and programs to alleviate recidivism.
Many factors affect the size of the prison population. Crime levels often fluctuate. Harsher sentences increase prison time for particular crimes. Recidivism
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