Causes Of Overcrowding In Prisons

Good Essays
The United States has a greater percentage of its population incarcerated than any other country in the world. According to the U.K.-based International Center for Prison Studies, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world at 756 per 100,000, including juveniles in addition to adults (Purposes of Prisons).
The number of prisoners continues to increase yet the correctional system’s mission statement is to reform inmates so that when their sentence is completed they can re-enter society as a “new person”. Prisons offer programs like therapy and jobs to prisoners to help them facilitate their skills and channel their emotions, but, if the recidivism rates of ex-convicts returning to prison after release are over 50% and prison populations
…show more content…
Researchers have determined that some of the causes of prison overcrowding are harsher penalties for criminal activities, changes to laws that make new actions illegal, high recidivism rates and needed improvements to the penal system. Overcrowding in prisons causes many problems, which is why it is a serious concern in the U.S. Once the causes of crowding have been established, researchers can begin to address the problems it causes and deal with them. However, the best way to solve the problems created by overcrowding is by eliminating overcrowding (Chamberlain). Living conditions in a prison are among the chief factors determining a prisoner’s self-esteem and dignity. Prisoners who experience humane detention conditions will be more willing and able to respond to rehabilitative programs. Those who experience punitive conditions and mistreatment on the other hand are likely to return to society psychologically shattered and in poor or worse state of physical and mental health than when they entered. Humane prison conditions also reduce the prevalence of violence in prisons (Bunch). A long-term study on prison population density, also known as, PPD, in Japan found that it has a direct correlation with prison violence rates (PVR). This study conclusively states “the effect of PPD was significant and positive on PVR, even after controlling for the effects of the proportions of males, age younger than 30 years, less than one-year incarceration, and prisoner/staff ratio”
Get Access