Even though many new prisons have been built throughout the nation during the past 20 years to accommodate the growing number of inmates, prison overcrowding is still very much a reality in many jurisdictions. There are many problems that occur from overcrowded prisons. First, according to David Beck-Brown of the San Diego Union-Tribune, it is less expensive to check into a Motel 6 and to eat out than to house an inmate in a California prison. It costs approximately $62.05 to house a state or federal prisoner for one day. The annual cost of incarcerating one inmate is over $22,000 and rising.
Determinate sentences involve sentences that have a fixed or flat time (Jirard, 2009). Determinate sentences play a large part in the increasing number of individuals in prison, which, as you can imagine, puts more strain on prisons financially. In the past two decades, we have become increasingly “tough on crime” which has helped to decrease crime to a certain extent. According to an article in the New York Times (2008), the US has fewer than five percent of the entire world’s population, but almost twenty five percent of the world’s prisoners (Liptak & , 2008). The author of the article goes on to say that people in the US are sentenced to do time for crimes that would not produce such a sentence in other countries.
Sociology 2962-721 October 29, 2012 Thought Piece #3 Case Study Two: The Prison Industrial Complex In the late 12th century the United States prison system exploded. Mass incarceration has caused a slew of economic and social problems for this country. Steven R. Donziger, author of “Crime and Policy,” noted that America is both obsessed and fearful of crime. American media is saturated with criminal drama, and news coverage is constantly reporting drastic displays of violence (488). Donziger’s studies show that crime rates since the 1970’s are remarkably stable, and violent crimes such as those displayed in the media have dropped by sixteen percent (489).
They lived in an old military fort, an appropriated by the federal government, while they were engaged in the construction of a modern building, designed to hold 1,200 men. These three institutions made up the entire system for many years. They gradually became heavily overcrowded when new laws, such as the Volstead Act in 1918, which introduced Prohibition, caused the federal population to grow exponentially. In response to the increased numbers of federal offenders of both sexes, Federal Prison Camp Alderson, the first women’s prison, was opened in 1928, and Alcatraz, commonly viewed as a precursor to today’s super maximum secure facilities, followed in 1934. Within 10 years of the creation of the Bureau of Prisons, the federal prison population and the number facilities bad almost doubled.
The “Dark Figure of Crime” is the amount of underreported as well as unreported criminal crimes that society does not report to authority. In this case, unreported crimes do not make it to the statistics of official crime. One believes that some people in society are hesitant to report a crime to police for numerous reasons. These reasons can be because of the act of negative criminal behavior from one individual to another. A few common unreported crimes that deal with negative sexual related criminal behavior toward another individual are visible.
The inmates were controlled with high levels of intimidation and isolation. In 1930, was when the federal prisons began, but before this year federal prisoners had served their time in the local and state institutions. Before the Civil War there were not many federal criminals or crimes happening until after the war. Jails and prisons began to experience overcrowding and it was evident that something must have to be done. The first U.S. Penitentiary was formed in Kansas where they housed federal prisoners.
Since the mid-1970s, the prison population in the nation’s largest state has risen by more than 750%, from about 20,000 to more than 160,000 (Equal Justice Initiative, 2010). California’s prison system is among one of the worst in the system and part of it is due to their adaptation of their “Three Strikes” laws. The laws are harsh and the criminals, especially the ones already having two strikes don’t seem to care about the seriousness of committing crimes. California’s prisons, 33 total, are operating at almost twice their design capacity. Overcrowding is a very serious issue that worries the state officials such as Governor Schwarzenegger.
More stress, chaos, and contact among inmates and staff. I believe this is a bad bill because of the increase in expenses. It is about $25,000 dollars to house one inmate per year. Just think about how much it will cost Government officials to house beyond over populated prisons. For example, if the maximum prison term for armed robbery is 15 years and that conviction is doubled, the city has to pay for an extra 15 years of housing to inmates.
Are Prisons Obsolete Rather than asking “are prisons obsolete” what it seems Angela Davis is asking is “are prisons really necessary?” In chapter one she is quoted as saying that more than “two million people (out of a world total of 9 million now inhabit U.S. prisons, jails, youth facilities and immigrant detention centers…The prison has become a looming presence in our society to an extent unparalleled in our history or that of any other industrial democracy…however the practice of mass incarceration during this period has had little or no effect on official crime rates.” Although I can understand the point Davis is attempting to make, in that prisons and jails overtake much of the country, filling large parts of our states, becoming eye sores, atrocities and school trips for the masses, however, what I feel she fails to mention, is that not only do these prisons serve to incarcerate the guilty, and, for lack of a better statement, most likely guilty, but it serves the public, taking criminals and those who create and instill fear in those who exist in communities. Perhaps it is more for those who need a sense of peace of mind, rather than those who have committed the crime. Davis also states that although it took 100 years to construct 9 prisons in California, over the course of 10 years the number of prisons in California had nearly doubled. Although she raises a valid point in her discussion, and mentions that the incarceration does not lead to a decrease in crime rates, she fails to mention whether the building of these prisons and incarceration of said prisoners was due to an increased crime rate in the areas in which these prisons were built. I would assume that these prisons, would in fact, not be built for absolutely no reason.
This large increase in the rate of incarceration is the biggest dertermining factor for the rise of private prisons in the US and because the United States has setup a system in which we are putting people in prison at a much faster rate than anywhere else in the world private prisons have become more and more acceptable. "In 1980 about half the people entering state prison were violent offenders; in 1995 less than a third had been convicted of a violent crime. The enormous increase in America's inmate population can be explained in large part by the sentences given to people who have committed nonviolent offenses. Crimes that in other countries would usually lead to community service, fines, or drug treatment—or would not be considered crimes at all—in the United States now lead to a prison term, by far the most expensive form of punishment." (Schlosser) The creation of the Rockefeller drug laws in New York state is what appears to be a major proponent in this