Problematic California Prison System Essay

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California has one of the most dysfunctional and problematic prison system in US. Over the last 30 years, California prison increased eightfolds (201). California Department of Correctional and Rehabilitation (CDCR) does little to reform prisoners and serve as human warehouse rather than a correction institution. California's prison system fails the people it imprisons and society it tries to protect. In many cases, California's prison system exacerbates the pre-existing problems and aids in the formation of new problems for prisoners. This paper discuses the criminogenic effects of overcrowding, and reduction/elimination of programs and how it negatively affects California and the ballooning prison population and possible remedies. …show more content…
Criminogenic Factors
In the best of times, prison is bad place. Prison strictly regulate the inmates, thus leaving little room for personal choice. Under the watchful eyes of guards and other inmates, privacy is non-existent. Personal space is shared with other inmates and conflicts ensued. Add in criminogenic factors like overcrowding, and reduction/elimination of programs and prison life can be unbearable.

Overcrowding
On average, CDCR imprisons over 167,000 adult prisoners and is operating at 188% capacity (Lynch, Lecture 3-1-10) while the recidivism rate of prisoners in a study is 34% (221). With stricter policies, the prison population grew faster than the prison buildings can expand. Gyms and other recreational rooms in prison were converted into rooms to house hundreds of beds for inmates. Being housed in such close quarters has dire effects on prisoners. Haney notes that “overcrowding affects prisoners mental and physical health by increasing the level of uncertainty with which they regularly must cope” (202). Farington reports that inmates from overcrowded prisons are more likely to reoffend once released from prison than inmates from less crowded prison (206). Overcrowding has more detrimental effect on youth. Younger prisoners are more likely to engage in prison fights and more likely to be victimized by older inmates (205).Inmates often feel the need to project a tough emotionless image. Prisoners join…