The U.S. Supreme Court has acknowledged the growing distress, deeming California’s state prisons unconstitutionally crowded. In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled out that California’s 33 state prisons have become too overcrowded to the point where there are no sufficient medical and mental health care available (Realignment AB 109, 2013). The U.S. Supreme Court determined that the 33 state prisons are violating constitutional exclusions, under the Eighth Amendment, against unfamiliar punishment and brutality, says the American Legislative Exchange Council, an American organization producing model policies for state legislators (ALEC, 2010).
For over centuries, the only form of punishment and discouragement for humans is through the prison system. Because of this, these humans or inmates, are sentenced to spend a significant part of their life in a confined, small room. With that being said, the prison life can leave a remarkable toll on the inmates life in many different categories. The first and arguably most important comes in the form of mental health. Living in prison with have a great impact on the psychological part of your life. For example, The prison life is a very much different way of life than what us “normal” humans are accustomed to living in our society. Once that inmate takes their first step inside their new society, their whole mindset on how to live and communicate changes. The inmate’s psychological beliefs about what is right and wrong are in questioned as well as everything else they learned in the outside world. In a way, prison is a never ending mind game you are playing against yourself with no chance of wining. Other than the mental aspect of prison, family plays a very important role in an inmate’s sentence. Family can be the “make it or break it” deal for a lot of inmates. It is often said that “when a person gets sentenced to prison, the whole family serves the sentence.” Well, for many inmates that is the exact case. While that prisoner serves their time behind bars, their family is on the outside waiting in anticipation for their loved ones to be released. In a way, the families
The overcrowding prison reflects that the inmate population has grown much faster than the funding for prisons, which is controlled at the state level. In most cases, state funding has not come close to keeping up with the rise in the prison population, leading to decrepit prison infrastructure that is wholly inadequate for housing such large numbers of inmates. Without capacity to house inmates properly, some prisons have resorted to having prisoners sleep in gymnasiums, and many have overcrowded cells to accommodate the extra bodies. This overcrowding has led to deteriorating cleanliness of prisons and declining safety. Today, non-violent prisoners are forced to live in close quarters with violent ones, and the results are predictable.
As of 2015, 2.7% of adults in the United States were under correctional control, the lowest rate since 1994, however that is still roughly 6.7 million adults (Kaeble & Glaze, 2016). While the correctional population has declined, correctional facilities in the United States are still grossly overcrowded, with many facilities at or surpassing capacity. A report in 2010 by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation showed that on average, facilities were at 175% capacity (Brown, 2010). However, as of midnight on October 31st, 2017 the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported that their facilities, on average, were 132% occupied (Brown, 2017). Not only is prison overcrowding a burden on the facilities themselves, but also on the inmates. Prison overcrowding, that is, housing more inmates than the facility can humanely facilitate (Haney, 2006), places a strain on all resources throughout the correctional facility, including on the healthcare that’s offered, educational programs, and most dramatically on the physical space available to house inmates (Ekland-Olson, 1983).
Since the tough-on-crime era began in the 1980s, the California prison system and parolee population have grown tenfold. This is in great part due to the three strikes law that passed in 1994. This law made it a requirement for any offender convicted of a felony with two previous felonies to go to prison for a minimum of twenty five years. This law sent many people to prison for longer sentences due to non-violent drug offenses, when in actuality they should have been sentenced to rehab. Prison overcrowding is an important topic that all Americans should care about, since according to The Bureau of Justice Statistics, over ninety-five percent of all prison inmates will be released at some point, with over eighty-five percent of them being placed under parolee supervision. Of this population, sixty-five percent suffer from substance abuse issues and meet the need for treatment for their addiction. Drug and alcohol abuse, specifically drug abuse, and crime are inextricably related. Unfortunately, the majority of those released from prison who suffer from addiction issues are not treated while incarcerated, and as a result end up back in prison.
According to statistical data found in the Bureau for Justice Records, there are a number of problems that most prisons in the country face. The records indicate that the number of adult federal and state inmates increased from `139% in `1980 to 260% (Walker, 1999). As a natural default, the United States of America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This in itself brings about one of the major problems that are faced in modern incarceration which is overcrowding in most prison facilities. The number of offenders in the country has increased rapidly over time while the country prison system has not really been able to cope with this rapid increase. Prisons intended for one or two inmates are now crowded with more than fifty individuals. Because of this most prisons are overcrowded and most of the facilities available are unable to cater for the needs of all the prisoners (Siegel, 2009).
When it comes to prison overcrowding, many factors cause it to occur. Part of the overcrowding can be attributed both to specific policies. For instance, the “War on Drugs” has enacted harsher penalties for drug violations, directly increasing the number incarcerated. Part of this policy includes mandatory sentences, which indirectly affect the overcrowding. More people are incarcerated for longer periods, leading to conditions so inhumane that in 2011, the Supreme Court declared one prison violated the Eighth Amendment. While policies are partially responsible for overcrowding in prisons, criminal behavior also needs to be taken into account. The USA has one of the highest recidivism rates in the world—within five years of release from state prison, law enforcement rearrests 76.6% of inmates.. Many are arrested for violating parole, and some go on to commit entirely new crimes. Apparently, there is little motivation to staying out of prison, what with the minimal rehabilitation programs and general stigma laid on criminals in the work force. This makes the prison system, in itself, ineffectual, and the attempts to decrease inmate population similarly pointless.
The United States has the biggest imprisonment rate on the planet, and paying a high cost for it. Detainment strength finished in the mid-1970s when the jail populace expanded from 300,000 to 1.6million detainees, and the imprisonment rate from 100 for each 100,000 to more than 500 for every 100,000. Nonetheless, there is by all accounts little relationship between the wrongdoing rate and the imprisonment rate (Clear et al., 2013).
Prison Overcrowding: Prisons have become warehouses of human beings as opposed to institutions meant to provide a means to engage in restitution by delinquent individuals in society. “One necessary condition for rising incarceration rates has been the massive expansion in prison construction and capacity, without which prison populations could not have grown so dramatically” (Guetzkow & Schoon, 2015). As more prisons are being built, more delinquents are being incarcerated in order to fill them. “Prison facilities are filled 38 percent beyond rated capacity, with overcrowding being particularly acute in higher-security institutions” (Rowland, 2013).
Have you ever been to prison before? Unfortunately it is not uncommon for many people in the United States to end up in prison at any given time in their life. Chances are, if you have not been to prison you know somebody that has been imprisoned, as America has the highest rate of incarceration in the whole world. Although America’s population only accounts for 5% of the world's population, we have the highest prison rate at 25% of the whole world’s incarcerated population (Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2015). Why do we continue to see these prisons overcrowded, and how exactly does this affect the inmates?
As we all know – there are tons of social issues within the entire world that Criminal Justice Practitioners deal with, most likely, on a daily basis. One of the many social issues I’ve chosen is Prison Overcrowding.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a massive amount of inmates began fillin up the United States prison systems. This huge rate of growth in this short amount of time, has greatly contributed to the prison overcrowding that the United States faces today. In fact, the prisons are still filled to the seams. This enormous flood of inmates has made it practically impossible for prison officials to keep up with their facilities and supervise their inmates. One of the main reasons why many prisons have become overcrowded is because of states’ harsh criminal laws and parole practices (Cohen). “One in every 100 American adults is behind bars, the highest incarceration rate in the world” (Cohen). The amount of inmates in corrections systems, throughout the
Prison Overcrowding has become a major issue in the United States. Many laws such as the three strikes law and also mandatory minimums have played a major part in prison overcrowding in the United States. The violence that is caused by prison
In America’s tough economic society, over population has become an exceedingly hot topic issue. However, overcrowding in America’s prison system has been a severe problem since the 1970's. The majority of the changes have come from different policies on what demographic to imprison and for what reason. The perspective of locking up criminals because they are "evil" is what spawned this (Allen, 2008). Because of this perspective 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 (Stewart, 2006).