The United States has the highest, documented incarceration rate in the world (Wikipedia.2012.) Approximately 2.4 percent of the United States populations are currently incarcerated. Recently, there has been an estimated amount of 2,266,800 adults currently in prison in both State and Federal Prison Systems. In this paper, I will be talking about a State Prison System, “Louisiana State Penitentiary”.
I will be explaining about the growth of state prisons and what has lead us to this rapid growth, how United States Corrections Professionals can solve the problem of exponential growth in state prisons, what levels of security are in both State and Federal Prison Systems and how they differ, and how the United States can improve security at the State and Federal Prison level.
The State Prison system, “Louisiana State Penitentiary” also known as “Angola” is the largest, maximum security prison that is located in Angola, Louisiana. This State Prison system had the nickname of “Alcatraz of the South and The Farm”. (Wikipedia.2012.) This State Prison System holds five thousand inmates with over two thousand guards watching them extremely close and is operated by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. This penitentiary is located on eighteen thousand acres that used prior as a slave plantation.
Most of the inmates lodged at this State Prison System live in dormitories rather than cell blocks. The Dormitories have their own unique names; Cypress, Ash, Magnolia, Hickory, Pine, Oak, Spruce, and Walnut. This prison consists of an East and West Yard. The East yard consists of sixteen dormitories and one maximum cell lockdown. The West Yard also consists of sixteen dormitories along with two segregation cellblocks, and a treatment center. The treatment center is used to treat inmate’s ill-in transit inmates, geriatric and hospice need prisoners.
The main portion of the prison also consists of LSP Vocational School, kitchen facility, dining facility, State and Federal Prison Systems gymnasium, Judge Henry A. Politz Educational Building, Outcamps, Death Row Facility, and Close Cell Restricted Unit most commonly known as CCR. The Death Row Facility consists of eight tiers; A to G. Seven of the tiers has fifteen cells each where as the other reaming tier has eleven cells. The CCR unit is an area for isolation that consists of 101 cells and 40 trustee beds.
There has been a dramatic growth in State Prisons and at this rate, I believe the prisons are going to become way too overcrowded. Overcrowding can do a lot of harm, not only to the inmates but the staff as well. Overcrowding has three effects on a daily basis, in the prison environment. Three effects would include the opportunities for inmates to participate in rehabilitive and self improvement programs would be limited. There is so much less of everything, resources are becoming limited, and there seems to not be enough to go around. The lack of work opportunities which may lead to anger, frustration, and inappropriate behavior such as fighting and so forth.
I believe that the United States Corrections Professionals can solve the problems of exponential growth in the State Prison Systems in several different ways. First off, they should offer stronger and longer rehabilitation programs. These individuals are not receiving enough help. If they implemented stronger rehabilitation programs, more individuals will learn how to cope and deal with their problems in an appropriate manner. So when they get released, they will have learned a lot from this stronger rehabilitation program and will hopefully not return.
These individuals should get incentives for completing and going through with these programs as well as getting disincentives if they happen to return back to prison. The United States Corrections Professionals should make them understand where they went wrong and if they return, there stay will not be as pleasant and will serve a longer sentence. State and Federal Prison Systems
There are different security levels in both the State and Federal Prison Systems. The State Prison System consists of different levels of security; minimum, low, medium, and maximum. The facilities decide where they need to put the inmates depending on the severity of their offense and depending on their prior history being incarcerated such as trying to flee or escape if applicable. Minimum security facilities usually hold criminals that classified as non-violent and hold a low-staff to inmate ratio. Low security facilities consist of double fenced perimeters and have a little more staff to inmate ratio than the minimum security facilities.
Medium security facilities consist of double fenced perimeters with electronic detection systems with greater internal controls. The medium security facilities hold more staff to inmate ratio than the minimum to low security facilities. The maximum security facilities have extremely high secured perimeters consisting of reinforced fences and walls. The Federal Prison System on the other hand has lower-level security for individuals that have longer periods of incarceration.
The United States can improve the security at the State and Federal Prison level in a couple different ways. With the prisons being overcrowded, it makes it ten times as hard for security to mange conflict and violence. I believe if they reduce idleness, they will see a big improvement. This means get them out and encourage them to play sports, exercise and increase their opportunities in religious and cultural activities.
They need to classify all their prisoners into groups no matter if they are in State or Federal Prison Systems. Federal Prison Systems have lower security levels and not always should that be the case. Just because an individual committed a crime that may be federal related, it doesn’t make them any less harmful than an individual that may committed a State Crime. Obviously if they get sent to prison, there is a reason behind it, they have mental/health issues that need to be addressed. There should be more State and Federal Prison Systems
security even if it may cost more money. There is not enough staff to inmate ratio. A lot of individuals are getting away with stuff they shouldn’t be, therefore if there were more staff, there wouldn’t be as much of a problem.
In conclusion, State and Federal Prisons have some similarities along with a few differences. There are several security levels for State Prison Systems whereas with Federal Prison Systems have lower-level security for individuals that have longer periods of incarceration. I believe the United States Corrections Professionals play a big part in the growth of the prison system population, they can help decrease the growth in several different ways.
The United States can improve the security at the State and Federal Prisons in a few different ways and I wish one day these ways will be implemented. State and Federal Prison Systems would not be where they are today if it weren’t for people in our past, trying to improve our future.
References: Department of Corrections. (n.d). Retrieved from http://doc.louisiana.gov/LSP/ Foster, B. (2006). Corrections: The fundamentals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. News One . (2012). Retrieved from http://newsone.com/1565605/most-notorious-prisons-in-the-us/ Wikipedia . (2012). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison Wikipedia . (2012). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Louisana_State_Prison