This paper discusses the critical issue of overcrowding in state and federal prisons. It touches on the problem, potential causes of the problem, who is affected by the problem and possible solutions.
Crime is an issue that every country must deal with on a daily basis and in the United States of America that is especially true. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, the U.S. had more than 11 million crimes committed in 2008 (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2009), this is a far greater number of crimes than that of any other country in the world. When looking at prison statistics, the U.S. also ranks highest in both total prison population and prisoners per capita. The U.S. Department of Justice reported that over 2.3 million people were being held in custody in state or federal prisons or local jails.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the population of prisoners within the United States federal prison system increased by nearly 790 percent between 1982 (when it was at 25,000) and 2012 (when it had reached 219,000). The United Stated leads the world in incarceration rates. In 2008, The International Centre for Prison Studies found that within the United States, 756 out of every 100,000 people were in prison. The next closest country was Russia with 629, and then South Africa with 335 out of the same 100,000 people. The United States is dealing with a prison overcrowding epidemic like nowhere else in the world. Prison overcrowding is an issue with every state but some are more affected than others. California is one state that is dealing with a significant overcrowding problem. In January of 2013, the state's prison system was operating at 145 percent, according to the state governor's office. Louisiana has the highest incarceration rates in 2010, with 853 people incarcerated per every 100,000.
Prison overcrowding is a serious issue that is affecting the United States criminal justice system. Overcrowding has effects not only on...