Is Prison Overcrowding Fixable? Essay

2020 Words 9 Pages
No one knows exactly when criminal law and corrections began in human society. However, it probably would have occurred at the point in social evolution when collective vengeance was first substituted for private vengeance. That is, people realized that feuding was costing the group too much in terms of injuries and lives, and some individual’s behavior was first imagined to be harmful to the group as a whole. The entire group, or the leader(s) acting for the group, took action against the offender. (Stanko 25)
The idea of prison has been around for thousands of years and seems to be an integrated part of the human concept. We remove the people that disrupt society and we put them away or get rid of them. We, as a modern culture, want
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As a population evolves, and moves forward, so do those who choose to defect from the accepted standards that a society has in place. This evolution of the population needs to be compensated for in the prison systems by adding new rules and regulations.
What brought the prisons to this overcrowded situation requiring so much focus on control? Drug-related offenses, repeated traffic violations, and incarceration for fines and fees not paid are just a few of the examples of the reasons non-violent prisoners are contributing to overcrowding. Another portion of the problem is that the sentencing of people is controlled by a large group. “All of these commissions have some degree of legislative support, although Virginia’s is located entirely within the judicial branch. Most sentencing commissions are broadly representative, including a mix of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, correctional officials, public members, and sometimes legislators” (Torney 13). These groups are helping to keep the prisons overcrowded. Laws will need to change to allow for updated circumstances in our prisons. This updating should include re-working the justice system to include options other than prison for non-violent offenders. The process will be slow, but the ___(prison officials/head people?)_____ need to be aware that this process is essential to helping…