The Overcrowding of Prisons and Jails

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Prison overcrowding is a serious issue that is rapidly growing in the United States. Since the 19th Century it has been plaguing the criminal justice system and has rolled over to our modern prison system. Overcrowding is more complex than what people see on the outside looking in. There are multiple reasons that contribute to the increase population of inmates. Throughout the years, there has been an ongoing debate on what the causes are and how they can be improved. Since the early years, prison populations have been rising at an enormous rate. There are numerous causes and little is being done about it. Some of these causes are the increase rate of previous criminals returning after being released, more criminal offenses are being added to the penal code, “war on drugs”, “truth in sentencing”, harsher penalties and there is a shift from sentencing being indeterminate to determinate. These are just a few examples that are contaminating our system today. Overcrowding is becoming a problem because it does not just put pressure on the inmates, it put pressure on the staff as well.
For putting all these strains on the prison system, it starts to form a domino effect. Since the population is rising, it is having an indirect relationship with the resources that are being available to the inmates. Less resources are able to go around and are getting stretched thin, more space is being occupied and inmates can become hostile. In the Department of Corrections, they state that there is a lack in number of beds to manage all the new inmates. Within the criminal justice system, inmates in prison are required to have a certain amount of space which is known as double celling. Overcrowding is looked at as cruel and unusual punishme...

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