Home Confinement is the Solution to Prison Overcrowding
Prison overcrowding is one of the largest problems facing the American criminal justice system today. Many people may think this issue does not affect them, but the problem becomes important when overcrowding forces prisoners to be granted early release. "In cases of extreme brutality, the sentence served by criminals can be short. Because prison space in the city is tight, each offender can be accommodated only briefly" ("Punishment"). Prison overcrowding causes a controversy of positive and negative views concerning the construction of more prisons. Supporters claim that building more prisons is the only solution, while opponents argue that alternative methods could be used to solve the problem of prison overcrowding. The question becomes whether or not the cities and states should spend scarce resources to build more prisons since the inmate population will continue to grow. Opposing viewpoints to this question represent both the pros and cons of building more prisons in order to solve the problem of prison overcrowding. While an alternative approach to the controversy attempts to bring the opposing sides together.
Some people believe that building more prisons will solve the problem of prison overcrowding. Today's prisons are so full that "only one criminal is jailed for every one hundred violent crimes committed" ("Punishment"). Over half of America's currently convicted felons are not even sentenced to prison, partly because judges know that the prisons are full. The problem of prison overcrowding forces most violent prisoners to serve less than half their sentence ("Punishment"). Supporters believe that the only solution to these problems is to construct more prisons. They feel this will ensure that a violent offender will serve the appropriate time needed for an offence. In the article "Prison Staff Feel Effects of 'Horrendous Overcrowding,'" Jilly Welch states that, "Many prisons are employing only the minimum number of officers to meet health and safety standards." Arguments have been made that if prison overcrowding is not properly managed, the security of prisons will be endangered, placing staff and inmates in unsafe, life threatening conditions, and jeopardizing public safety. Supporters claim that more prisons need to be built to accommodate offenders as well as to ensure the safety of staff members.
"The number of inmates in the nation's jails and prisons rose again last year, to a record 1.8 million, though crime rates have dropped for seven consecutive years" (Welch). Supporters of building prisons argue that without the growth of prisons, crime rates would have risen dramatically. Therefore advocates claim that building more prisons will help to continue decreasing the rate of crime while facilitating the needs of prison overcrowding. They say that prisons need to be designed to facilitate inmate...