The problem of prison overcrowding became relevant not so long ago due to the increased number of delinquencies and wrongdoers. Nonetheless, the current government strategy does not foresee the full limitations of overcrowded prisons and is exposed to increased costs and the lack of prison personnel (Gaines, 2014). In perspective, the issue of an increased number of inmates is a nationwide moment of reflection.
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Even though the complexity of the problem is over the top, several things could be done about prison overcrowding. First, fewer individuals might be sent to prisons for criminal actions connected to drugs. Moreover, drug-related criminals might be permitted to serve shorter sentences (Goodstein & MacKenzie, 2012). This is an arguable decision, but the perspectives look promising in theory. This approach would allow the government to cut the prison costs by approximately $2.5 billion and reduce the overcrowding rates over the next ten years. Another way to fight prison overcrowding is to give the judges more options when it comes to the sentencing process. In other words, the judges will be able to become flexible in their verdicts (Goodstein & MacKenzie, 2012). Theoretically, this will allow the government to reduce the number of inmates by approximately 100.000.
As for the future of prisons in the United States, they tend to become more of a hybrid of a prison and a problem-solving center. This is reflected in the organization of special probation services. In the future, prisons will turn into suspension centers. The key objective behind this decision may be the desire of the government to protect the US citizens and support the relapse of crime rates (Raphael & Stoll, 2013). The prisons will become a kind of a rehabilitation program and not a correctional facility. Of course, the inmates will be detained and monitored, but it is the government’s attitude to the problem that will change. In the future, the prisons will provide “services” based on the personal characteristic features of the inmates and their case progress. These changes in the perception of the prison and its design are highly anticipated by the community and are expected to improve the well-being of inmates and minimize the crime rates (Raphael & Stoll, 2013). Therefore, it is logical to assume that the focus of such a program is not punishment but treatment. The inmates will be supported, and the government is expected to provide all the necessary assistance. This approach may be considered a mitigation strategy, but its effectiveness yet has to be proved.
Taking into account the information mentioned above, it would be rather reasonable to assume that the state is responsible for providing the inmates with special skills training (Goodstein & MacKenzie, 2012). This supposition is based on the perspective of redesigning the prisons into rehabilitation facilities rather than keeping them as places for the detention of wrongdoers. Despite the implementation of the recuperation techniques and practices, this approach seems to be profitable for both of the parties (the government and inmates) and will cut the costs significantly (Raphael & Stoll, 2013). It is safe to say that the government should allow prisoner labor as a for-profit industry because it is an effective way to provide the inmates with critical professional skills and help them to adapt to the social life when they are released from prison.
Gaines, L. K. (2014). Homeland security: A new criminal justice mandate. In S. L. Mallicoat & C. L. Gardiner (Eds.), Criminal justice policy (pp. 67-87). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Goodstein, L., & MacKenzie, D. (2012). The American prison issues in research and policy. New York, NY: Springer.
Marion, N. E., & Oliver, W. M. (2012). The public policy of crime and criminal justice (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Raphael, S., & Stoll, M. A. (2013). Why are so many Americans in prison? Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.