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Prison Overcrowding Essay

1780 words - 8 pages

Prison overcrowding is caused by a variety of issues, such as such as not enough room in prisons, fluctuating crime rates, changes to laws and improvements to law enforcement tactics (Prison overcrowding is a growing concern in the U.S. web.). I chose this topic because I just could not grasp as to why and for how long has our prisons been overcrowded, so then I narrowed down my search in three main topics to help me and maybe others to figure out why this is happening. Topics are 1.The dimensions and figures of overcrowded prisons and why this happens. 2. Review of profile of two different cases from 1981 Rhodes vs. Chapman, and 2011 Brown vs. Plata and what problems does prison overcrowding cause. 3. Finding out a strategy to reduce prison population.
First topic of discussion is the dimensions of overcrowding and why this happens in our country. Let’s begin with great statics to help us both better understand the foundation of where and when prison overcrowding became an issue, and in 1990, for an example, the U.S rate of imprisonment stood at 292 prisoners per every 100,000 residents. By 1995, it had reached 399, and on January 1, 2011, it was 500, however by 2010 the rate of growth had slowed and may have finally stopped (Schamlleger 333). Even though many new prisons have been built throughout the nation during the past 20 years to accommodate the growing number of inmates, prison overcrowding is still very much a reality in many jurisdictions in which some of the most crowded prisons are those in the at federal system: The crowding rate in all federal prisons recently stood at 38% over capacity, while crowding at federal medium-security prisons stood at 49% (Schamlleger 332-333). Meanwhile measuring prison overcrowding in a number of dimensions in different ways: Space available per inmate (such as square feet of floor space), length of confinement of inmates in cells or housing unites (versus time spent in recreation and other activities), living arrangements (single vs. double bunks), and lastly the type of housing, those different measurements will help get a bigger picture of the stats mentioned earlier (Schamlleger 333). Once I researched the statics in our textbook and really looked at the figures I now am starting to understand the ratio and its time span of why our prisons are overcrowded, however I could not stop their just yet I still needed to learn what problem exactly does prison overcrowding cause which brings me to topic number two.
My next topic of discussion is allows us to beware of two different cases and how they have helped us out in this time period. But let’s first understand that prison officials have developed three definitions of prison capacity which means the size of a prison population that a facility can hold. First being rated capacity which refers to knowing the amount of inmate population that on facility can handle according to the judgment of experts, second operational capacity the number of...

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