Our prison system today is struggling from an immense amount of prison overcrowding. Prison overcrowding is a term used to describe prisons holding more inmates then their original capacity states they can. This is an issue because it causes inmates to be piled up like animals. Prison overcrowding started to become an issue in our system when the War on Drugs appeared. The harsher sentences for drug crimes have caused the court system to incarcerate individuals at an accelerated rate. With the sudden increase of inmates, the government hasn’t been able to keep up.
Prison overcrowding has resulted in negative ways. Since there are a lot of prisoners shoved together, the chances of fights and diseases are heightened. This is terrifying because if the inmates come together, riots can easily break out. Since the inmates outnumber the guards at such an incredible rate it isn’t hard for inmates to fight back. Prison overcrowding is not only putting the lives of our inmates at danger, but also our correctional officers. In California the inmate population in our prisons have been around 144,000 to 110,000. This doesn’t sound too terrible until you hear that their prisons designed capacity is 80,000 inmates. Meaning prisons in California are holding more than 30,000 more inmates then its designed to. Prisons have done this by taking cells with two beds and welding beds on top of them to create bunk beds. Which in turn means that cells that were originally supposed to only hold two individuals is now holding four.
Prison overcrowding has resulted in Private Prison’s to come up and help relieve the issues federal prisons have. I will talk more about Private Prisons later in my blog. I believe that the biggest solution to reducing prison overcrowding is to reduce sentencing on nonviolent individuals. The government is using an insane amount of money to house all of these inmates and the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
Comment below on how you feel about prison overcrowding!