Issues in the Correctional Systems of the United States.

1797 Words Dec 23rd, 2002 8 Pages
Issues in the Correctional Systems of the United States

I have chosen to research the correctional system of the United States for many reasons. The first reason is that I believe this component of the legal system has the most problems facing it. Another reason is that this topic interests me and I would like to learn more about it.

There are many important issues, challenges and problems within the United States correctional system that need to be addressed. I found it difficult to focus on just three issues. The first problem I will discuss in my paper will be the issue of the growing population in the prisons. Prisons are overcrowded and murderers who have served barely half of their sentence are being released because the state
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Because building prisons and adding new beds is costly, states are looking for other ways to manage overcrowding, such as early release programs, electronic monitoring, keeping prisoners in local jails, and having offenders pay restitution to their victims. Early release gives officials a way to allow prisoners to leave before their sentence is completed. In New York, "presumptive release" permits the parole board to release offenders on parole after they have served their minimum sentences if they have not caused any problems. Good time or merit time allows the reduction of the sentence time for everyday of good behavior or for participating in particular programs.

Felons were sentenced to an average sentence of 71 months in state prisons in 1994 but actually served about 38 % of that sentence (Bender, 1998). The danger in releasing inmates to make more room for new admissions is that some prisoners are violent offenders and should not be let out yet.

Another way to deal with overcrowded conditions is for the government to save money by allowing private businesses to perform some government functions (privatization). This policy has largely affected the corrections system, especially as state and federal government face an increasing number of prisoners and , as a result, a growing need to build more prisons. People that are for the privatization of prisons believe that private firms would both
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