Pros And Cons Of Increasing Prison Overcrowding

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WHAT IS CAUSING PRISON OVERCROWDING? FINDINGS Continued increase in the number of offenders sent to prison · High recidivism rate · High rate of offenders returned to prison for violating or unsuccessfully completing community supervision · New criminal offenses added to penal code · "War on drugs" · Harsher penalties for certain types of offenses · Increased role of victim and victim advocacy in the court and parole process Convicted inmates serving a greater portion of their sentences in prison · Shift from indeterminate to determinate sentencing caused average minimum sentences to increase · Elimination of "good time" · "Truth in sentencing" established time-served standards for parole eligibility and required 100 percent of court-imposed…show more content…
Less than 25 percent of the average daily population of sentenced offenders is incarcerated; the majority are supervised in the community. For the past 20 years, Connecticut's prisons have operated at or over capacity despite the addition of thousands of new beds since 1990 and a steady 10-year decrease in crime and arrest rates. Department of Correction lacks both a sufficient number of beds to house total inmate population and an adequate system of high security beds to manage high-risk population. Correctional system is hampered by inaccurate population projections and lack of a needs analysis of total offender population, but in particular of the inmate population. The number of inmates released early from prison to community supervision or parole has dramatically decreased. Types of crimes for which offenders are convicted and sentenced to prison has not changed significantly since early 1990s. Almost 70 percent of all convicted offenders admitted to DOC have been sentenced to three years or less and most of those (47 percent) for one year or less. The court has not significantly changed its sentencing practices in imposing prison terms, but recently there has been an increase in the number of sentences of between five to 10 years and a decrease in sentences of one year or less. Violent crimes generally receive the longest prison sentence (about six years) and drug offenses the next longest (almost four years).…show more content…
The primary solution has been to add prison beds by building new facilities and expanding others -- almost 10,000 new beds costing well over $1 billion have been added since 1989. Less than five years after the Department of Correction (DOC) completed the comprehensive construction project, however, it is almost at capacity and has had to transfer 500 inmates to out-of-state prisons to relieve overcrowding. To a lesser degree, Connecticut has implemented a system of graduated sanctions. The network of sentencing options and alternative sanctions: (1) punishes and rehabilitates offenders whose crimes and/or criminal histories do not demand a prison term; and (2) assists in the transition of inmates from prison back to their communities. This model is based on the recognition not all offenders are the same, and only a few deserve the most intensive and expensive sanction -- prison -- and almost all offenders sent to prison eventually return to their communities. There are well documented societal issues that impact the prison population and crime rate. These factors include poverty, a lack of education or employment opportunities, drug or alcohol use and abuse, racial disparity, exposure to others involved in criminal activity, and mental

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