Examples Of Prison Overcrowding

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Prison Overcrowding in America In our country today, we account for roughly five percent of the world’s population, yet we hold over twenty-five percent of the globe’s inmate population. According to John Irwin, we currently imprison more people for lesser crimes than any other country in the world. In 1987 alone, our prison population rested steadily at just 500,000 incarcerated inmates in the U.S. Although in the past twenty-seven years, the American prison population has actually quadruped to almost 2.4 million (Pratt, 2009). With that being said, we as a nation hold the highest recidivism rates compared to any other country. Each year, state, federal and local penitentiary’s release more than 630,000 prison inmates back into the general …show more content…

Many of the incarceration rates for African Americans are about six and a half times greater than that of Caucasians. African Americans make up close to thirteen percent of the U.S. population, yet they happen to represent thirty-eight percent of violent crime arrests. The prison population accounts for forty percent of the African Americans incarcerated. Racial disparity exists mainly due to the mass media and the emergence of crack cocaine. Poverty also goes hand and hand with racial disparity in the United States. Poverty indirectly occurs from unemployment, and social disorganization. The economic status of an offender has a significant impact on the likelihood of recidivism. At that point, law enforcement entities and society as a whole started to view African Americans as violent drug offenders (Walker, Delone, …show more content…

With the failure of the rehabilitation programs, the United States had to turn to the retribution model of punishment. Also at the turn of the decade into the 80’s, The War on Drugs kick started the epidemic of prison overcrowding, and launched America into a downward plunge of economic and political turmoil. The mandatory minimum sentencing policy that was in place did not help the situation either, giving long incarceration sentences to prisoners who didn’t deserve it. Criminals were given the minimum sentences for crimes, and judges carried them out precisely. Race and poverty were also side contributors that contributed to the bigger picture of the issue. Racial profiling in poor neighborhoods led to skyrocketing arrests of young black males, completely reversing the black to white ratio of incarcerated individuals. Prison overcrowding is a real issue in our nation, and we are five percent of the world’s population, yet house twenty-five percent of the world’s inmates (Austin, Irwin,

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