Prison Overcrowding

Criminal Activity is on the rise. With prison populations growing at an all-time rate, the federal prison system has not been able to keep up. As a result, this is a serious problem which puts inmates and guards in danger and holds back efforts to rehabilitate convicts. ( McLaughlin, 2012) Violence will be on the rise as more inmates are squeezed into small living quarters. Increased inmate misconduct is a direct result of prison overcrowding which negatively affects the safety and security of inmates and staff.

If prisons don’t find a solution to this problem, it will create more tension and could potentially cause an inmate to snap and create a violent incident. With more prisoners confined in small spaces, prison officials are forced to cut back on inmate’s cafeteria time, time in the recreation yards, and television rooms. Multiple inmates are put in cells that were specifically created for one individual inmate. Common areas that were not meant to be used for inmates are being used for living arrangements even though it was not designed for that.

Crowded cells and the loss of privacy increase the odds that inmates will lash out, threatening the guards keeping watch. ( McLaughlin, 2012) Policies have been put in place to make sure that inmates are not being violated. Some may say that overcrowding in prisons is inhumane Besides the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights contains provisions that prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment and provides for a mechanism of monitoring prison conditions.

Regional human rights treaties reiterate international prohibitions of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment as do national constitutions. (OHCHR Homepage) Alternatives to imprisonment such as fines, day fines, community service, electronically monitored house arrest and probation/suspended sentences have been incorporated into systems of criminal sanctions successfully during the last decades. The only issue with this that is contributing to overcrowding is the fact that offenders are adding to population once they violate parole or fail to pay small fines.

These alternatives are put into play to keep offenders out of jail and give them a chance to remain in society. Root causes of overcrowding then have been identi? ed in statutory frameworks and practices of pretrial detention. Inmates who have not yet been sentenced and are being incarcerated awaiting a court date also contribute to overcrowding. Delay in processing cases through the system keeps pretrial detainees behind bars for lengthy periods of times. Such delays may be the consequence of legal and procedural problems, but also a result of practices which do not consider adequately needs to de? e priorities in clearing backlogs of cases. (Albrecht)

Overcrowding in prison has not been fixed, because criminals are committing more violent crimes and population is growing. Budget cuts are also hindering efforts to solutions to solve the problem. Budget cuts are making hard to hire staff and is eliminating rehabilitation programs put in place to keep offenders out of jail. With rehabilitative efforts at an all-time low, inmates are stuck in jail and offenders who get out tend to commit crimes again. Budget cut also in some areas lead to prison being shut down which will make it harder on other prisons.