By 2000, more than 1 million black children had a father in jail or prison"(Coates pg.2). Men going to prison at such a high rates has left many women to fend for themselves. As of 2007 almost 809,800 men is incarcerated and have children leaving women no choice but to go to the government for assistance. many believe if the male incarceration rate wasn 't so high their would be less people on
Although America currently incarcerates a quarter of all prisoners in the world, people do nothing. 2.2 million citizens are missing from the nation, yet we see it as perfectly fine as these men, women, and children are criminals. Yes, they are criminals but they are also people. People who in our current prison system are being denied the basic human rights. Most prisoners are being tortured with solitary confinement, spending up to seven years with little to no human contact, with no way out.
The overpopulation in the prison system in America has been an on going problem in the United States for the past two decades. Not only does it effect the American people who are also the tax payers to fund all of the convicts in prisons and jails, but it also effects the prisoners themselves. Family members of the prisoners also come into effect. Overpopulation in prison cause a horrible chain reaction that causes nothing but suffering and problems for a whole bunch people. Yet through all the problems that lye with the overpopulation in prisons, there are some solutions to fix this ongoing huge problem in America.
“Some 80 percent of the men and women behind bars – some 1.4 million individuals – are seriously involved with drug and alcohol abuse.”(prisonpolicy.org). This is a sad statistic, especially considering that substance and alcohol abuse are now regarded as mental illness. It seems that instead of incarcerating these low level criminals we should help them. The cost of keeping these people in prison is not cheap either. The Vera Institute of Justice reported that forty states spent thirty nine billion dollars in one year on prisons and prisoners, a yearly average of $31,286 per prisoner (Vera.org).
Today the US now imprisons more people than any other country in the entire world. The US has approximately “1.8 million people behind bars: about 100,000 in federal custody, 1.1 million in state custody, and 600,000 in local jails.” ¹ The inmate population in America has grown so big that it is hard to even comprehend it. Think about the combined populations of some of the largest cities in the nation – Atlanta, Miami, ECT. – the inmate population exceeds that. Marc Mauer in his book The Race to Incarcerate says, "No other society in human history has ever imprisoned so many of its own citizens for the purpose of crime control… We have embarked on a great social experiment" The drastic increase in US inmates has happened overtime.
Peter Mosko, “an assistant professor of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice” (Frazier) stated, “America, with 2.3 million people behind bars, has more prisoners than soldiers” (Frazier). There have been studies that have shown “there are more men and women in prison than ever before. The number of inmates grew by an average of 1,600 a week. The U. S. has the highest rate of crime in the world” (Clark). Because of this influx in inmates, many prisoners’ rights groups have filed lawsuits charging that “overcrowded prisons violate the Constitution’s 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment” (Clark).
83.4 percent of these people received the punishment that was mandatory under sentencing laws. According to the United States Sentencing Commission between October 2012 and September 2013, 27.6 percent of drug offenders were locked up for crimes related to marijuana. The drug policies in both state and national government are not flexible enough. Spending tax payer dollars to incarcerate drug users who don’t get the help they need is a waste of money. The recidivism rate of prisoners continues to rise.
Death row prisoners are deemed dangerous to society and other prisoners, and so they are classified as maximum custody. This means that they are kept in a cell by themselves. Keeping prisoners on death row costs $90,000 more per year than regular confinement due to single cell housing and the extra guards that are needed in those prisons (Barnes 2 of 2). Security for the death row inmates is greatly increased which adds about 100,000 dollars to the cost of incarcerating each death row prisoner (Williams 1 of 2). California’s 714 capital prisoners cost $184 million more per year than those sentenced to life without parole.
Out of those 2.4 million people, fifty percent of the male federal population and fifty-eight percent of the female federal population are behind bars for a drug offense (Shively, 2015). Out of the almost seventy billion dollars spent on prison every year, only 1.9 cents of every dollar goes towards substance abuse treatment (Sack, 2014). With nearly fifty percent of jail and prison inmates addicted to drugs, more focus needs to be put on rehabilitation rather than leaving prisoners to go through
Nationally, every 7 minutes, another person enters prison. And every 14 minutes, someone returns to the streets, beaten down and, more often than not, having suffered a great amount of violence during his or her incarceration. Professionals will tell you that incarceration really does very little to stop crime, but we go on spending billions of dollars in order to lock up more and more people. We have become the country with the highest incarceration rate in the industrialized world. (National Criminal Justice Commission) This quote from Dave Kelly shows many of the issues with the United State’s criminal justice system today.