Decrease In Prisons

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The first correctional facility to be introduced in the United States was the Eastern Penitentiary, and was constructed to hold only a couple hundred inmates at max capacity. Despite arguments discussing a decrease in current prison population, studies have shown that prisons are actually overpopulating and causing safety concerns. Prison population increasing over the years has led to seventeen states holding inmates at max capacity level. For example, Illinois’s prisons are currently holding over 48,000 inmates when their facility’s design capacity was to hold only about 33,000 prisoners (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2015). There have been many strategies suggesting to lower the population, for example, sending fewer offenders for drug crimes…show more content…
In agreement with The Sentencing Project (2004), there has been a 500% increase over the past forty years; leading to overcrowding and concerns regarding inmates and correctional officer’s safety. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (2015), prison population has increased an average of 1.8% from 2004 to 2013 with a recent decrease of 2.5% into 2014. The federal prison population decreased by over five-thousand inmates from 2013 to 2014. Over half of the prison population was serving time for drug offenses in 2014. The estimated one million prisoners in 2014 represent the smallest total prison population since 2005. The decrease observed in 2014 was the second largest decline in the number of prisoners in more than 35 years. Surprisingly, the decrease in the prison population from 2013 to 2014 was driven by a decrease in admissions rather than an increase in releases (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2015). The Bureau of Justice Statistics (2015), reports three different measures of capacity that play an important role in overcrowding and safety policies. The first is the operational capacity, which is based on the ability of the staff, and services to accommodate a certain amount of inmates. If there are not enough correctional officers in the facility it becomes difficult to supervise inmates. Second is the rated capacity, this takes into consideration the number of cells…show more content…
Most minority arrests are made in poverty neighborhoods. Bad childhood experiences in poverty areas could be a factor in convincing young adults to become drug dealers with the goal of pursuing a better life. This is also known as the neighborhood level theory. The individual level theory shows that individuals that grow up in poor environments are not as likely to obtaining a high paying job because of their educational disadvantages. This leads those individuals to look at drug dealing opportunities as a last resort. Both the neighborhood level and individual level theories show why crime is committed in these neighborhoods. As briefly stated earlier, most states have instituted new harsher sentencing policies for cocaine dealers as opposed to marijuana dealers. Arrested cocaine dealers are more likely to be black than are arrested marijuana dealers. He notes that blacks are more heavily represented among the population incarcerated for drug offenses than among drug arrestees, suggesting bias in charging or sentencing. It has been suggested that some police officers use racial profiling to target different races for interrogation. If this is the case, it could be factor to race disproportionality in prisons. Brownsberger, explains the social damage this practice does. By racial profiling, this leads to a higher probability of arrest for minority dealers than for
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