United States of America has the largest prison population in the world, what is wrong with our prison system. Many prisoners are repeat offenders in America. Also many criminals are in prison for nonviolent crimes, plentiful have a large prison sentence. Why does America have so many problems in their prison system and how can it be resolved?
Problems such as, why are so many prisoners repeat offenders, why do people with a mental disability or drug addicts don’t receive help, how come that there is so many prisoner incarcerated for nonviolent crimes and are giving harsh crimes, why does America spend so much money on their prisons instead of trying to find better methods, and why is the prison population so high and is there a way to decrease it. American prisons are becoming overcrowded and are causing a huge concern to many.
There are many variables on what is causing the huge population in the prison and the effects it has. Some variables that are causing overcrowding are changes to the law, improvements to law enforcement tactics, and a fluting crime rates. Many prisons don’t have enough room and they start to become under staff. Prison officials tends to become more prompted to react inappropriately on occasion due to being forced to accommodate ill-advised numbers of prisoners. Vasquez 2 The large population negatively affects prisoners.
A long term study has found that a high prison density has a correlation with a high prison violence rate. Many room in prison have two or three prisoners, when most are designed to hold one prisoner. High amount of prisoners also increases the cost of housing them all. Prisoners with mental disabilities and drug addicts can’t receive help because of how many more prisoners there is compared to the staff. The health care for inmates is difficult to manage with the high population.
Many prisoners get harsh times for nonviolent crimes, which usually is a drug offence. A mandatory minimum sentence is term when a judge by law has to hand out a certain amount of prison time for a particular crime. The mandatory minimum sentence law is very harsh for drug related crimes. Many believe it takes away the power from the judge, a judge wouldn’t be able to hand out the right punishment for the crime that was committed. Many judges don’t even get to know basic information on the drug offender when sentencing them.
The mandatory minimum sentence grew out during the War on Drugs in the 1980s, The law was very harsh to punish drug dealers and anybody that assisted them, giving them long prison terms to both the dealer and the assistant. The laws get even tougher during election time, the tough laws have filled US prisons, most drug offenders are imprisoned for a large amount of time even if they are there for a nonviolent crime. Vasquez 3 Some states have ended the mandatory minimum sentencing, Michigan in 2002 ended their ties with the law and saved about forty one million dollars in prison costs a year later.
A study by the Randy corporation have found that drug treatments are cheaper and more effective than the hefty time prison time the drug offender has to serve. A survey by Federal Judicial Center has found that eighty six percent of federal judges are against Mandatory minimum sentencing. Many nonviolent crimes result in large term of prison time and fill up our prisons because of the Mandatory minimum sentencing. For many, leaving prison seems like the best thing for a former offender, but most of the time it’s the toughest time for them.
Many prisoners have a extremely hard time to survive outside of prison. Many former prisoners aren’t eligible to live in public housing, some states require tenants to have their residents to sign a contract that bans anybody with any convictions from entering their homes. This law was passed to prevent drug dealing in the public housing, but since the law is very broad anyone with a criminal record can’t step foot in the housing. A high amount of former convicted criminals can barely afford to live when they get released.
Finding a job to sustain is extremely difficult for a those that have been convicted. Many can’t even get a interview because many job applicants require to ask if he or she has ever been convicted of a felony, which immediately can disqualify the applicant. The harsh treatment that many former prisoners have to deal with can result in them having to do illegal activities to survive in society. This results in many of those that get out of prison get put back in because of them trying to survive. Vasquez 4 Prison with drug addictions never really get treatment for their illness.
A drug offender can get years in prison for their crime, but prison isn’t known for their rehabilitation for drug addicts. A person with an addiction to any drug can be thrown back in prison because many can’t afford to go to rehab, when out of prison they don’t receive help for their illness. It’s hard for those who have a drug addiction and faced time in prison to turn their life around to better their life. Programs are trying to help people that are trying to better their lives, making them fit in society to help themselves and others, which would benefit everybody.
The cost of holding all the prisoner is making the prisons to run alternatives to many of their programs to continue. Prison food is already known to taste awful, but since prisons are getting more and more prisoners they have to find ways to feed all of them. Many times prisons have ran out of food or the food has be contaminated in some way. An Ohio prison in 2001 has changed they receipts to make the food cost cheaper, during the change, maggots have been found in the food for prisoners, and there was still instances where they couldn’t provide or ran out of food.
Since the population is so large that the food can run out in a prison facility, the medical and mental health care of prison quality has decreased. Prisons in California have failed to meet the average prisoners need for basic health. Prisoners have to wait days to get checked up on by doctors, many times the prisoners have to pay for the checks themselves even if they don’t have any money. Many times the family members get the bill for the prisoner, but a majority of them are poor and can’t really Vasquez 5 afford the bill.
Prison can’t afford top health care for their prisoners, having them to wait days for check ups on urgent times. Many question why haven’t the American justice and prison system try to find alternatives since prisons are being crowded and understaffed. Some states are taking the measure to take out mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes that seem unfair to serve a large sentencing, and some states even legalize recreational marijuana use, which can prevent those that are caught using the drug won’t have to face a lengthy jail time, other states decriminalize on carrying small amount of marijuana.
Other states are starting to have programs to educate and reform prisoners, but they don’t get enough funding for those programs because prisons have to find ways to run their facilities as cheap as possibly. Some Prison facilities are starting to train their task forces more often to become more efficient for things such as, prevent violence among inmates, prison guards abuse against inmates, and also on how to handle mentally ill prisoners.
Probation law is also changing in some states to be more flexible for the convicts, the strict time in which when many have to reach their probation officer in very uncomfortable times. Many had to skip work or miss an important events to have their meeting with their probation officer. The changing is making it less likely for a repeat offender, since many struggled to help themselves and meet or pay their probation officer.
These changing are trying to ake it more easier for those that have been convicted to turn their life around in a already unfair life because of their mistakes. Vasquez 6 America’s prison system needs to be changed because of the constant failures that it has. The failures like how the inmates and the mentally ill get abused in prison walls. The extremely low success rate of getting out of prison and finding a way to succeed in society. The difficulty of getting a job with a criminal record following them. Getting to find a home, when public housing bans any of those that had a criminal record.
The harsh time for a nonviolent crimes, that affects the convict because of very outdated laws and unfair laws. The problem may never be solved since the society changes through out generations, so new laws and different reform methods. Lawmakers change their view throughout the times, recreational use of marijuana is becoming more acceptable, many states are legalizing the use of the drug, which can help the crime rate go down, but there is a lot more problems in the prisons that are still more complicated that many never be solved.