OVERCROWDING PRISONS A General Treatment Strategy By Erin Reiner Mike Reed Ryan Kliem
The Statement of the problem • What: The overcrowding of U.S. prisons has placed extreme pressure on correctional facilities as well as the inmates they serve. Who: Prison overcrowding has many adverse affects on inmates. Where: Prison Overcrowding is currently taking place in all correctional institutions (County, State and Federal).
Statement of the Problem Cont. When: In 1980 there were roughly 500,000 in prison. In 2006 there were 2,245,189 people in prison. (BJS) Why: The generation-long growth of imprisonment has occurred not because of growing crime rates, but because of changes in sentencing policy How (does it affect society?): “Incarceration…has had numerous unintended consequences, ranging from racial injustice and damage to families and children to worsening public health, civil disengagement, and even increases in crime.” (See JFA report)
Statement of the Solution Ideally we would like to return the number of prisoners to under 1 million. We hope to lower levels of recidivism and create more humane conditions for those whom are imprisoned.
Procedure of Treatment • A. Reduce time served in prison • Eliminate the use of prison for parole or probation technical violators. • Reduce the length of parole and probation supervision periods. • Do not incarcerate those who commit “victimless” crimes, particularly those related to drug use and abuse. • Instate work programs and housing assistance for released prisoners.
Parent Conceptual Themes (Theoretical Support) Levitt, Steven D.. 1996. The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 111 (No. 2): 319-351. Chappell, Duncan. 1988. “International Developments in Corrections,” The Prison Journal, LXVIII: 34-40. Travis and Waul’s “From Prison to Home.” In Charon & Vigilant’s Social Problems: Reading w/Four Questions. 2006. CA:Wadsworth. Goldstone, Jack A.. 2002. “Forging Social Order and Its Break down: Riot and Reform in U.S. Prisons”. American Sociological Review. Vol.67 pp. 499-525.
Range of Application • The treatment strategy will only apply to adults. The treatment strategy excludes all people convicted of a violent crime. Auxiliary Assumptions 1. Increased amounts of drug trade, due to less severe consequences. 2. Monetary fines can cause hardships for families. (with children) 3. The treatment strategy will not work on everyone!
Evaluation The success of the treatment strategy will be measured by examining the trends in future prison populations.