Prison Overcrowding Essay

2352 Words 10 Pages
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 …show more content…
One major problem of prison overcrowding is the effect it has on prison organizational stability. The more prisoners and people put in jail have made it harder for prison guards and staff to monitor and control them. The entire prison system must make enormous changes in order to accommodate for the number of inmates versus the number of prison guards (O’Leary). This often results in a misclassification of offenders. Many who come through the system are classified based on the amount of space available instead of on the security level and programs that would be most suitable for them (Howard). “It is not uncommon to find inmates, classified as medium security, incarcerated in maximum security institutions, while other inmates are in medium security who were previously considered candidates for maximum security” (Howard). Misclassifying offenders often leads to “slow progress through the corrections system as well as a slow exit” (Howard). This in turn only prolongs and increases the overcrowding problem (Howard). The corrections programs should be reformed to meet the needs of the inmates rather than the inmates having to adjust to meet the requirements of the system. Offenders need to be on specific rehabilitation programs that are customized to fit their needs, such as alcohol and drug abuse programs and so forth.
While the inmates have to suffer the effects of overcrowding, so do the…