The government is the biggest investor in the prison industry although there are private companies that also have prisons (The word, 2008). The building of prisons in America has recently skyrocketed. In California there were two state penitentiaries that is Folsom and san Quentin for more than a century. In the early 80s when the prison became overcrowded with more criminals, California was forced to build more prisons to ease congestion.
Over the past twenty five years, twenty one prisons have been building and thousands of cells have been added to the already existing facilities. The need to build more prisons seems to be inevitable in America as it is in the hands of people with special interests of gaining votes. These liberal and conservative politicians have made prisons to be the cornerstone for development and the $35 billion spent yearly on correction is termed by the private companies and government officials as lucrative business and not as a burden to the tax payer.
There are approximately 2. 3 million inmates in American prison today making it the country with many people imprisoned (The word, 2008). This is due to the culture of lengthening of period terms for petty offenders instead of other alternatives such as fines and community services commonly practiced in other countries. By passing the law on doubling of the prison sentences for the armed robbery, the prison will continue being overcrowded and this will lead to the building of more prisons.
There is a notion that the building of more prisons lowers the crime rate but no one addresses the economic burden it exalts on the tax payers. The eagerness to pass legislations that are tough on crime like this one never disclose the true cost of such legislation which are the major cause of financial improprieties. Prison construction already spends millions of dollars in construction and architecture firms, investment banks in the wall street , phone services, medical services and plumbing services to name but a few.
These are lucrative businesses for service providers to the prisons but at the expense of the tax payer (Howard, 2003). Politicians, private companies and prison officials have come up with legislation such as this to rake tax payers dollars. The cost of building and staffing prisons is allocated from tax payers’ revenue which solely depends on tax payers. Prison populations should be thus reduced for economic reasons and doubling of sentences will end up increasing prison populations (The word, 2008). Policies such as this aim at increasing prison inflows.