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.
The prison population is overwhelmingly male and disproportionately minority. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 25% of state prisoners are white, 38% are black and 21% are Hispanic, revealing a degree of disproportion when compared to the general population where 62% are white, 13% are black and 17% are Hispanic. Racial disparity with regards to imprisonment has been a feature of the prison system from decades yet this disparity has increased over time. African Americans today are incarcerated in state prisons at a rate that is 5.1 times the imprisonment of whites. African Americans comprise 31% of individuals arrested for drug violations.
Have you ever wondered how many people actually get arrested in a year? According to the U.S Department of Justice, a staggering estimate of over 14 million people were arrested in 2005. Of those 14 million people that were arrested, about 1.53 million of them were sentenced to a jail term. That same year a study was done on 404,638 newly released prisoners in 30 states. The study showed that within three years, about 67.8 percent of released prisoners were rearrested and within five years about three-quarters of them were arrested.
It has more than doubled mainly because of the policy. Today, it costs about $20,000 per year to confine just one physically fit and capable offender, and about three times that cost for an older prisoner in a penitentiary (“Reasons” 1). Considering that California is just one of the fifty states that is required to uphold this law, how much money is really being siphoned annually just to keep so many offenders in jail? The state court systems costs are also rising due to the abundance of felony cases being persecuted. Since the prisons are being over populated, new prisons are being build, funneling more money into the equation.
Private prison companies’ dependence on ensuring a large prison population to maintain profits provides inappropriate incentives to lobby government officials for policies that will place more people in prison (Mason, 2012). For example, mandatory sentencing, three strikes laws, and truth in sentencing, which all contribute to higher prison populations. Also, in some cases could increase the number of people held in immigration detention facilities. This is proven by creation and organization of model legislation through conservative lobbying groups, including political contributions and lobbying efforts of individual companies. As a result, the effort to increase reliance of incarceration occurs at a time where the rate of imprisonment
As of 2016 the United States prison system has dealt with one of the largest prison strikes in American history. Among many of the prisoner’s grievances, one of the most demoralizing is that they are claiming they are treated like slaves, and that the prison system is violating their human rights. A main concern with prisoners is compensation, how the amount of work they are required to do, does not equal how much they receive as payment. The penitentiary system has always payed way below minimum wage, and a livable income even for prisons. The private prisons are even more concerning as sometimes they do not even compensate their prison workers at all, while still managing to make a profit from the workforce labor.
Or in some corrupt and terrible situations the prisons pay members of authority to arrest and put people in their prisons so they dont have to pay and can get more money because their beds are full. Sadly many of these people are juveniles and this ruins
This act abolished parole, reduced good time and established determinate sentencing. With this act, the inmate population increased by more than fifty percent from 24,000 to 59,000. Throughout the 1990’s, the population doubled once again to 136,000 inmates at the end of 1999. Increased conviction rates were mainly due to the recent combat against illegal drugs as well as illegal immigration. The Bureau of Prisons is “structured for success”.
Moreover, these private prison companies get its long-term profit, which increases by in increasing their man-days, with several political strategies (Ashton). Private prison companies rely upon the government budgets and concerns of overcrowding (Tylek). In 2009 there were 502 people in prison per 100,000, an increase of 722 percent since 1970. It went fro 196,429 to 1.6 million people in 2009 (Ashton). The number of people held in private federal facilities increased approximately 120 percent since 2000.
This concern is shared by federal, state, local government government officials, and the public. According to Siegel and Welsh (2011), an estimated 1.7 million youths, under 18 years of age, are arrested each year for committing crimes that rage from loitering to murder, and this number is expected to rise (p. 10). Additionally, more than 250,000 juveniles are arrested each year for committing a status offenses, and roughly 160,000 of these offenses are petitioned to the juvenile court (Siegel & Welsh, 2011, p. 22). A more resent statistic shows that each year, approximately 240,000 status offenses are handled by juvenile courts (Neubauer & Fradella, 2014. 475).