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.
“About 85 percent [of California prisoners] are substance abusers. Under the terms of their parole, they are subjected to periodic drug tests. But they are rarely offered any opportunity to get drug treatment. Of the approximately 130,000 substance abusers in California’s prisons, only 3,000 are receiving treatment behind bars” (Schlosser 75). It seems mind boggling that although drug tests for parolees are consistently enforced,
Solitary confinement is considered sever psychiatric harm after fifteen days. More than fifty percent of the US prisoners held in solitary confinement are held past this fifteen-day marker. (The Ethics of Solitary Confinement). "More widely, according to federal records, some 80,000 prisoners were held in solitary confinement across the US in 2005 - the last time such information was released by the government" (The Ethics of Solitary Confinement). If our government is withholding the information, there is clearly something amiss.
Many inmates experience mental disorders when they get sentence to long period of time in an overcrowded prison. Prison population keeps increasing not equaling to the space provided to the inmates. According to the article, Prison Health Aare and The Extent of Prison Overcrowding, about 70% of prisons around the globe are surpassing the prison’s capacity. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, recommends for each inmate in prison to have at least 4 meters of space, but 14 prisons in Europe give inmates only 2 to 3.5 meters of space. They get very limited space making it easier to pass infections or diseases along each individual in the cell.
Elderly prisons are two to three times more expensive than younger offenders, they could be up $72,000 per year for medical care and housing. Most of the elderly are in prison for different cases. 14% are sentenced for fraud, larceny, burglary, breaking and entering, and traffic and public violations. 26% sentenced for drug crimes and 65% are non-violent, property
Although a recent survey found more than half of all inmates had some form of mental illness (4), they had developed that mental illness before incarceration. On the other hand, I did find a bit of information regarding the effects of overcrowding on mentally ill inmates. Because many overcrowded prisons are understaffed in medical personal, inmates who are mentally ill often go untreated. Scholars and mental health practitioners have suggested that the combination of adverse prison conditions and the lack of adequate and effective treatment resources may result in some prisoners with preexisting mental health conditions suffering an exacerbation of symptoms (4). Nonetheless, overcrowding is a direct violation of inmates’ Eighth Amendment rights; prohibition of cruel and unusual
It has led to a rise in the recidivism rates of prisoners. Recidivism refers to the repetition of criminal behavior (James, 2011). According to the United States Bureau of Justice 2010 statistics report, three-quarters of released prisoners are constantly rearrested for new crimes and more than half of these go back to prison in a period of two to three years after their release. Ex- inmates account for an approximated 19 percent of all arrests (Phelps, 2013, p.55). Criminals who return to the community are also most of the times worse off after a period of confinement than when they entered.
They are seen as treatable diseases that are diagnosed just as any other illness would be. Mental illnesses are described as, “behaviors, thoughts, or feelings… viewed as pathological or abnormal…” (Hoeksema 5). The question of what normal is was raised in “The Myth of Mental Illness,” as well as most academic readings regarding psychiatry. It is stated in Szasz’s book that, “a norm that must be stated in terms of psychosocial, ethical, and legal concepts.” (114). This concept is not what we use today, but makes a great deal of sense as explained by
Western State Hospital (WSH) is one of two state-owned psychiatric hospitals for adults in Washington and is the location of my field placement. WSH patients are referred to the hospital either through their county’s Behavioral Health Organization (BHO), the civil court system when individuals meet the criteria for involuntary treatment (i.e. Danger to self, danger to others, and or gravely disabled) or through the criminal justice system (i.e. Competency evaluation, and not guilty by reason of insanity) (Western State Hospital, n.d.). WSH is a patient-centered hospital utilizing a progressive medical model, emphasizing the best chance for recovery is through a collaborative effort made interdisciplinary treatment team consisting of a; psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, medical doctor, pharmacist, registered nurse, and rehabilitation staff.
Psychologist - a licensed Ph.d or a Psy.D who is trained in tests and measurements. A clinical psychologist can diagnose and treat a mental illness and often specialize in fields such as school, child and adolescent, organizational and family. Phycologists focus more on physiotherapies and treating emotional and mental suffering through behavior interventions. 3. Social worker – a licensed and board-certified individual with master’s level degree.
Fresno County is located in the central regions of California (CA). Current estimates put the population at around 965,000 which represents a huge 20% increase over the last 14 years. Most of the population growth came from the Hispanic and Asian communities, which now represent over 33% of the total population. Given the County 's proximity to both Sacramento and Los Angeles, they too suffer from a large number of crimes and death related to drug abuse and addiction. Startling Statistical Information About Drug Abuse in Fresno County, California While Trust for America 's Health reported the state of California has the 15th lowest fatality rate (10.6 out of every 100,000 people) from drug overdose, the number is quite misleading considering the vast population of the state.
At the turn of the 21st century the majority that entered the prison system were African Americans and Latinos. (Michelle Alexander, 2010) The reason behind mass incarceration was due to the crack down on the deteriorating communities where the majority of minorities lived. Authors Scott Ehlers, Vincent Schiraldi and Jason Ziedenberg of Still Striking Out: Ten Years of California’s Three Strikes (2004) report that African Americans in prison because of the three strike law is higher per every 100,000 African American than Whites and Latinos in California. (U.S. Census Bureau
“ We are not moving nearly fast enough to reduce incarceration… Over 2 million Americans live caged… a 550 percent increase in the last 40 years. ” Most of the people in the world are in jail. Therefore , incarceration is not lowering due to people being imprisoned on a daily basis. Half of the people in the world commit very bad crimes , which lead them to be imprisoned. “ Rape and sexual abuse are rampant , and tens of thousands of people
In 2014 there were 650,000 kids in foster care, that’s almost twice as much as Kansas City’s population of 467,007. Roughly 58,000 of these children were placed in an institution or group home instead of a traditional foster home. While these children will age out of the system 40% of them will find themselves homeless, 50% will have substance addiction, 25% will have not received a diploma or GED, only 3% will have received any college degrees and 17% of the young women will be pregnant. Even before they are blessed with their so called “independence” the average child in foster care will have an IQ 20 points lower than a child not in foster care and 33% of them will have moved elementary schools more than 5 times. The foster care system in
The American Psychiatric Association estimated in 2000 that one in five prisoners were seriously mentally ill, with up to 5 percent actively psychotic at any given moment. In 1999, the statistical arm of the Justice Department estimated that 16 percent of state and federal prisoners and inmates in jails were suffering from mental illness. These illnesses included schizophrenia, manic depression (or bipolar disorder) and major depression.