The problem of overpopulated prisons in the USA is a very disputable topic nowadays. Many people suggest numerous solutions to cope with the issue. However, some of them are ineffective and can be even harmful for the American society. By all means, it is essential to solve the problem of overcrowded prisons, but every solution should be thoughtful and effective.
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Thus, one of the provided solutions is to release older inmates which will leave room for younger ones. This solution is based on the fact that it is three times cheaper to house a young inmate than an old one. Nevertheless, this measure can be ineffective since it can lead to more violence and crimes.
It is rather unclear what the former prisoners would do when released. In fact, younger people have more chances to successfully return to normal life. It will be possible to release definite number of older inmates (which will be rather small) who are unlikely to commit any crime. However, this will not have significant effect on the situation with overpopulation in prisons.
It is also suggested to decrease the population in prisons by deporting illegal immigrants imprisoned in the USA. However, this measure can be even dangerous since those illegal aliens can return and commit new crimes. Moreover, their number is not that large.
For instance, the famous case of Somali pirate, Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, who hijacked “American-flagged cargo ship”, resulted in more than 30 years of imprisonment for the pirate (Weiser). If he was deported to Somali, he could escape the sentence there (justice system in Somali is not perfect), so he could return to hijacking new American ships. Since he is imprisoned he is not a threat.
Finally, it is also suggested to use the death penalty for prisoners who commit very serious crimes like murders and rapes. However, this measure raises too many questions. It can lead to many deaths of innocent people. Besides, the problem of death penalty is also a very disputable topic which is still unsolved, so it cannot be an effective solution.
It can seem that the problem of overpopulated prisons is everlasting, but there are at least two possible measures which can be very effective. First of all, it is necessary to improve the justice system which is the reason of overpopulation in prisons. Thus, it is necessary to rethink the “three-strikes law” which “mandates 25 years to life in prison for three-time felons” (Moore A17). This law is regarded as one of the main reasons for overpopulation in prisons since about 70,000 parolees go back to prison annually because of this law (Moore A17).
Secondly, it is necessary to rethink the life of inmates in prison. People who violated rules of the society should pay their duty to this society. It is ineffective just to keep people imprisoned: simply feeding them.
Inmates should work and be helpful to the country. Of course, it is not about new type of slavery, but it is unfair that people who live according to the rules should feed those who violate those regulations. Everyone should work hard to become really helpful for his/her country. Thus, imprisonment will not be a vacation but a place where those who do not want to work outside the bars will have to work in prison.
Moore, S. “The Prison Overcrowding Fix.” New York Times 2009: A17.
Weiser, B. “Somali Pirate Sentenced to Nearly 34 Years.” New York Times, 2011. Web.