Are Prisons Overcrowded

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In the United States, a myriad of people are being admitted to state or federal prisons that exceeds the finite space within these facilities. Thus leading to prison overcrowding. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 2.2 million people in prison and for every 100,000 people in the population, 481 of them are incarcerated (McCarthy, Niall, 30 Jan. 2018). Imprisoning those who have broken laws may seem like an effective strategy to keep our streets safe, however that is not the only option that can be utilized. Overpopulation in prisons lead to lack of beds, lack of living spaces and overall insufficient living conditions. Despite a 40% decrease in crime over the last 20 years, prisons are still becoming overcrowded (Price,…show more content…
Mandatory minimums and lack of parole are also a large reason on why prisons are overcrowded (“Criminal Justice Facts.” The Sentencing Project). Since 1980, the number of inmates incarcerated for drug offenses has increased drastically. In 1980, there were 40,900 people in jail for drug offenses and in 2015, there are over 469,545 offenses. Today in U.S. prisons there are more inmates behind bars for drug offense chargers than there are the prisoners in jail for any type of crime in 1980 (“Criminal Justice Facts.” The Sentencing Project). We have inmates with drug offenses serving longer sentences than those who had more serious crimes like sexual assault, or robbery or sometimes even manslaughter. Is that the case all the time? No, of course not, but our prison system is filled with individuals with drug charges facing maximum sentences instead of providing drug rehabilitation. When those who are facing drug charges are placed into prison they are not given the opportunity to get clean the right way. There is no rehab for them, they are just placed there and expected to serve their sentence, which are often very excessive. Despite the extremely large rise in the incarceration rate over the last forty years, it has not shown an effective way of achieving public safety. It only creates financial burden on the state and also results in creating more overcrowding the prison system (“Criminal Justice Facts.” The Sentencing Project). Below is a chart from “The Sentencing Project” to show the prison population since

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