Free Prison and Jail Overcrowding Essay Sample
In the United States, prison overpopulation has been a very expensive and pertinent problem
As of January 1, 2010, more that 1.6 million people were imprisoned in federal as state prison in the whole of U.S. furthermore there were more than 700,000 people in all the local prisons. As from 1972 the prisons' population have been on rising tremendously, to reach an exorbitant 705%. In 2008 imprisonment numbers got to an all-time high, with 1 in 100 adults having serve been in prison. This is an extremely composite problem, and a problem that cannot be solved with much easiness, but only by applying the right preventive measures that can curb the overpopulation.
There are numerous reasons that may be pointed out as the main causes of overpopulation
However, no matter how many reasons they are, there are always those key factors that play a larger role in worsening the prison overpopulation problem. The first major reason may be attributed to the imprisonment of non-violent drug offenders. Prisons were not intended for this type of criminals yet there constitute the majority of prison inmates. Analysing the situation practically, these kinds of prisoners only take up space, money in addition to time from the penal system. It is quite imperative to note that such drug addicts require help but not jail term. Condemning them to jail sentence only serves to perpetuate and justify for their drug addiction and abuse. Once their jail-term is over, these former inmates often feel less of themselves than prior to their incarceration. Even before being release, they build up anxiety that usually make them indecisive and not even know what to do. And therefore the stakes are high that they will go back to their former life of dealing with illegal drugs (Conery, 2010, pp. A.4).
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Several studies carried out regarding the effects of prison overcrowding have also encompassed overcrowding as well as describing what the the central effects of crowding can be on humans. The research carried out on crowding was narrowed down to encompass the social density of crowding as well as the spatial density. Spatial density refers to the amount of space (number of square feet) accessible per person in any particular housing unit. On the hand, Social density refers to the number of persons sharing a housing unit and is well thought-out as the factor, which chips in most to the unfavourable effects of crowding. Nevertheless, it has been recommended that density alone does not make clear the overall effects of crowding.
The prison setting is often characterised by aspects, and which can cause unfavourable effects on prison inmates. In the prison environment, crowded conditions are chronic, individuals susceptible to anti-social behaviour are congregated, and therefore such a setting is characterized by prevalent lack of personal control, boredom and idleness.
Study has shown that prison congestion has three types of effects on the everyday prison environment. First, there is a lesser amount of everything to be enough for everybody; therefore the same resources and space are made to extend even further. The prospect for inmates to take part in rehabilitative and self-improvement programs, such as employment, academic and vocational training are curtailed. The deficient of work or even work opportunities have led to prisoners' idleness. This in turn reinforces the maxim that idleness leads to disruptive behaviour as well as a feeling of discontent.
According to Fathi (2010), public withdrawal in reaction to crowding manifests itself in different ways
Adopting a protective or guarded approach is one method of retreating, which by its character decreases the eminence of social interaction. Correspondingly, topics that dictate conversation in packed out settings tend to be less private or self-relevant, even in the midst of well-acquainted people. Results have pointed out that in crowded situations there is more competition and aggression for resources, less collaboration and more social extraction. Other persons in crowded circumstances are apparent as less interesting or attractive, and the societal environment itself becomes unlikeable.
In addition, a deficiency of resources can relate to anything an inmate may need to use, such as library books, washroom availability, recreational materials and television lounge seating. The unavailability of resources can spark off two fold reactions. One is the aggravation or nastiness of being restricted or denied a supply, and the other is the reality that conflict and competition over limited resources frequently lead to violence and aggression. The second consequence of congestion is on the individual inmates' behaviour. Such Crowding have been associate with stress and this, in combination with other factors in a prison locale, can intensify the unpleasant effects of crowding.
Various studies have carried out to help curb the menace of prison overcrowding
One such interesting study concerning recidivism and prisoner comprised of the Cognitive Behavioural treatment, is an effort to reshuffle thinking prototypes of criminal offenders in incarceration to educate them fundamental decision-making skills. The study was carried out over a 20-year span, and it is the only study of its kind to take such a long period of time. The outcome of the study is eye-opening: exclusive of treatment, "94% of the prisoners were rearrested, and 82% returned to prison, but with the Cognitive Behavioural Treatment, 81% of the prisoners were rearrested, while 61% of the prisoners returned to prison" (Iron, 2010)
The results indicates that if the Cognitive Behavioural Treatment study is put into practice, it implies that it would help reduce the imprisonment rate by over 21%, 147,000 free offenders would not go back to incarceration, based on the annual standard of 700,000 prisoners freed each year. Over a 20-year span, based on nationwide normal statistics, that would suggest that 2,940,000 prisoners would not go back to prison. Although it's incorrect to think that the studies' results would shift the same on a nationwide level, it is conceivable to believe that if Cognitive Behavioural Treatment were functional nationally, it would bring to a standstill thousands of potential crimes from occurrence. It is also reasonable to believe that the application of the Cognitive Behavioural Treatment nationwide would save millions of dollars in incarceration costs (3).
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Redirecting lower-level offenders into programs analogous to the Cognitive Behaviour Treatment programs and other programs like motivational interviewing can facilitate curb recidivism and lower the prison overpopulation. By coming up with ingenious and cost-efficient ways to instruct offenders on societal skills, can help prevent an estimated $1 billion in further prison costs. The expenditure of prison overpopulation is the major crisis in all of this, as dissimilar government and states have had to construct new prisons for viewpoint inmates. An expenditure of billions of dollars on new prisons countrywide is not a lasting answer to overpopulation; generally the costs of maintaining and building these state-of-the-art prisons are exorbitant. There are healthier, more cost-friendly ways for justice system and the government to get a better dollar for-dollar return on its prisoners, and physiotherapy programs offer a more efficient means of helping restrain prison overpopulation (Doyle, 2010).
In the last 20 years, Not only have rehabilitation costs increased fourth-hold, but corrections have been the subsequent fastest-growing class of state budgets, with basically 90% of the expenditure being allocated to prisons. Prisons are very costly, and a cheap alternative for non-violent delinquents would be to confine them in community corrections facilities. In order to combat prison overpopulation, there must be full overviews of federal and state laws, particularly compulsory sentencing when being applied to non-violent lawbreakers, as this could significantly cut down on incarceration costs as well as finances. By undertaking a complete review of the existing laws that state sentence guidelines, authorities might decide which guidelines and laws are overflowing the prison organization, and how to patch up those laws (Howard, 2002).