The current state of prisons in the United States is not an issue at the forefront of the minds of most Americans. With many other topics rising to prominence for the previously afformentioned it seems like basic issues such as living conditions for prisoners falls to the wayside. The reason this is so troubling is that an estimated 1.4 million individuals are incarcerated in the United States and the rate is increasing. The reason for the increase in incarceration rates is debateable, but the fact that it is rising is not. With each prisoner costing an average of $36,000 in tax revenue, and so many individuals residing in the current penal system, the topic of reformation is seeing a reemergence in popularity. Changes to the system in recent years have been made in small increments, but what is lacking is a major overhaul of the system as a whole. With the country’s budget deficit in the trillions and a significant portion of taxes being pumped into the Federal Prison System, three main issues need to be discussed: The first is how the system should be reformed, the second is the effect the reformation will have on criminals residing in the institution, and third the trend in crime rates as a result of changes to the institution. The objective of the changes made should be to reduce the cost of prisoners to the taxpayer while still providing sanitary but basic living conditions for prisoners.
To reconfigure the current system one has to take many factors into consideration. Andrew McClellan was the Chief of Prison Inspections for the United Kingdom from 2002 to 2009 and he states the following factors as the most prominent considerations, “Physical conditions in an establishment; treatm...
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...ry 6 Americans is going hungry to include veterans, elderly, and children, violent repeat offenders in the federal prison system are fed 3 times a day. While 50,000 veterans are homeless, child rapist and murderers sleep comfortably with a roof over their head. While a majority of hard-working americans struggle to pay health insurance, prisoners are provided with access to medical attention free of charge. When the government is taking better care of men and women who are serving out a punishment for crimes against society than law-abiding citizens, then a major overhaul of the prison system needs immediate attention. Reduced services with basic sanitary conditions and limited rations is the answer to the problem. When a person decides to commit a crime then it should be with the understanding that a harsh term of incarceration comes with those terms and conditions.
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