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Benefits of Reducing Prison Overcrowding

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This paper is going to discuss the benefits of why reducing the overcrowding of prisons with help the inmates, employees, as well as the citizens of the state. It will show that crime within the prison walls will go down, the stress of the inmates and employees will reduce, as well as showing that we can save taxpayers millions of dollars a year. Lastly, this paper will look at programs that the inmates can be sentenced to for minor petty crimes that they are incarcerated for. As a result of all of this the overcrowding of prisons may come to a halt and may not be as stressful as many people think.

Benefits of Reducing Prison Overcrowding
When thinking about prison overcrowding it kind of makes you want to cringe and hope you never have to be in that situation, however, in each state it is very common and is causing unbearable situations and long term effects for many people. Reducing prison overcrowding can help many employees of the prison, citizens, and inmates in many ways. At this point we can put a stop to the overcrowding and try to make the judges and court systems realize that it will be beneficial to all parties involved. First of all, by reducing overcrowding in prison it will help reduce crime and murder within the prison facilities. Prisons right now have caused more aggressive, antisocial behavior that is causing a lot of violence (“Effects of Prison Overcrowding”, 2012). Because there are more prisoners than staff on the premises, there is also a rise in drug trafficking, abuse, terrible living conditions, and new gangs being started.

The prisoners that do have violent histories are taking their frustrations and anger out on other inmates as well as prison officials (“Effects of Prison Overcrowding”, 2012). However, if we are able to take those inmates that are in the prison for lesser charges and put them on house arrest or in a rehabilitation program, this will give the inmates with bigger sentences to have the space to live and the employees of the prison more time to watch the higher crime criminals more. Also the new gangs that are being started in the prison and the territory issues will also help stop murder, drug trafficking, and many more crimes that are being done in the prison walls. It is believed, that the less overcrowding the more control the employees of the prison will have and the less crime they will have to deal with.

Secondly, in many ways people do not think about this, but by reducing prison overcrowding, it will have save the taxpayers millions of dollars. Levitt (1996) states, “The marginal costs of incarceration are roughly $30,000 per prisoner a year.” People sometimes do not realize this, but this coming out of our hard earned money to pay for the inmate to be in prison. We are paying for criminals to be in person. What sense does this make? When you think about the “Big Picture” the state spends about $29 billion on prisoners and the federal government pays $4.3 billion for inmates a year (Useem & Piehl, p.6). If you think about this it is a lot of money. So by sending fewer people to jail for drug crimes or minor offenses, we can maybe sentence them to house arrest or to a rehab center.

At this point they can get the help that they will need. Also for the elderly prisoners that have basically served their time, maybe release them a little bit earlier. This can cut the costs down on our taxes every year. When you think about it spending $30,000 for one person is almost a whole person’s check that makes minimum wage. The money that we can save from this will help fund schools, government and state needs, and many more things. The fewer people we send to prison for petty crimes, the lower our costs will be and will go to a better cause. Lastly, reducing overpopulation in the prisons will help relieve some stress that the employees and the inmates are receiving. Staff has limited time to deal with bad behavior, fewer resources to tackle crime and violence within the prison and less chance to potentially dangerous inmates (“Effects of Prison Overcrowding”, 2012).

Also the stress on the inmates with double and triple bunking, waiting lists for education and drug treatment programs inside the facilities, and limited meaningful work within the prison are all leading factors to the stress of the inmates (Bureau of Prisons, 2012). Like said before, the ratio for inmate to corrections officer is there are more inmates than there are officers, so if there is an outbreak in the jail, the staff has to be where the crime is being committed, however, when another pod catches wind of that outbreak, they will start their own. The stress of the employees is probably through the roof. It basically puts them in a stressful situation every day. Also you are putting inmates together that do not get along. There will more than likely be crime committed in that cell.

Also, the stress of the inmates not being able to make time of being in the jail by getting educated or having some kind of work to make money for food and what not is very stressful to them which ends up causing more aggravation in the long run. In the end of their sentence in prison it is also hard for the inmate to adapt to a normal life when released (“Effects of Prison Overcrowding”, 2012). However, if we are able to limit the less offense criminals into the prison system by putting them in a rehab program or house arrest, this will lessen the stress for the staff to concentrate on the higher offense criminals. It will also help the employees ensure that the individual inmates complete their rehabilitation and education programs within the jail. Also if the inmates are able to not be in an overcrowded jail, they will be able to adapt somewhat of a normal life and not go back to what they did to get themselves in jail. In the end it would relieve a lot of stress of all parties involved to make the prison sentence go as smoothly as possible.

In conclusion, by reducing the overcrowding of prisons all parties involved will be very appreciative to make sure that the life of the prison stays in order. In conclusion, by putting criminals with a minor offense on house arrest or even probation, this will elevate the overcrowding of prisons. It will reduce the crime, stress and save the citizens money. We should really rethink about who really belongs in jail and who doesn’t and judge them on their crime at that time. In time, the justice system will figure out that these ideas are true and will come to some sense of mind that this is what they should do. So when you think about a drug dealer that got put away for 10 years and a murder that got put away for 50 years to life, who really belongs in that jail cell and who belongs on house arrest? It makes sense.

Knafosaki, S. (2013, November 18). 10 Ways to Reduce Prison Overcrowding And Save Taxpayers Millions. The Huff Post retrieved from Levitt, S. (1996). The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation. The Quarterly Journal of Economics p.319-351 Mauer, D. (2012) Bureau of Prisons: Growing

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