The Major Challenges Facing the Criminal Justice System

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The federal prison system has been unable to keep pace with the steady flow of inmates pouring into its facilities during the past five years, despite adding space for thousands of new offenders, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report. The report also found that the Bureau of Prisons has already surged to 39 percent above capacity and is projected to jump to more than 45 percent above its limits by 2018 (GAO, 2012). According to a The New York Times article written by Adam Liptak (2011), overcrowding in prisons rose to its highest levels since 2004, when federal prisons were 41 percent beyond capacity. As more and more inmates are crammed into ever tightening living spaces increases in violent incidents are surly going …show more content…

Also, using low risk inmates to cultivate vegetable gardens, raise livestock like cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens to provide additional and more varied food for prisons. This could help improve nutrition and also provide inmates with meaningful activity. While at the same time addressing the health of the prison, the security of the prison can be solved as well. Often the movement of prisoners is restricted as a means of controlling the situation and providing safety for all involved. Unfortunately this adds to the stress and hostility felt by inmates. Reducing inmate idleness, by increasing opportunities for exercise and sports, and by allowing religious activities can up the security of the prison. Active inmates are less likely to feel stressed and hostile.

There are alternatives to incarceration and they are on the rise in an attempt to accommodate the rising rates of overpopulation. Boot camps are one of most wildly used in the United States, with the first put into place in Georgia and Oklahoma in 1983. The intention was to maximize deterrence, to reduce prison crowding, to reduce the rising costs of prison housing and to reduce re-offense. Boot camps are intended to be less restrictive than prison but harsher than probation. They stress vigorous physical activity, drill and ceremony, manual labor, and other activities that ensure that participants have little, if any, free time.

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