Prison Reform

Many states are faced with a daunting number of inmates who are incarcerated currently for a variety of crimes. Each state is given the responsibility for ensuring the prisons meet federal guidelines in accordance to housing requirements. There are prisons around the country that are housing more inmates than they have the capacity to handle. Who is looking out for the inmates to ensure they are treated humanely in accordance with the constitution? In this article, we will look at some of the key suggestions put forward for reform of the penal system at federal and state level, in addition to analyzing the arguments for both sides in attempting to reach a conclusion that is fair and just for both the victim and the offender, as well as society.

There are prisons across the nation that are putting 3 and sometimes as many as 4 inmates into cells that were designed to house only 2. This is a serious danger for health reasons, as well as the safety of the inmates. While inmate safety is a concern, it should be a major cause of concern for guard safety. Guards are monitoring more inmates than they can handle, which cause quickly create very dangerous situations. The guards have a job to do, they are unable to do so if they are watching more inmates than they can handle.

States are forced to build more prisons to accommodate the incoming prisoners, which is a wonderful short-term solution. However, longer solutions must be found. With the numbers of inmates in prisons all across the country rising each year, there must be standards put into place to avoid future problems. There are programs, which handle parole, as well as probation, attempting to reintegrate reformed offenders back into society with minimal hassle and fuss, as well as ensuring there is no or as close to no chance of reoffending as is possible.

Probation and parole are two alternatives to incarceration. One the one side of the spectrum, there is probation, which defers prisoners away from the prison system and enables them to serve time by reporting to a probation officer. On the other end of the spectrum, is parole. This program is reserved for those offenders who are no longer considered a danger to society. They are given an early release from the prison system, into society.

While the addition of programs such as parole and probation are great for the ability to add more jobs in the states, they do require some very careful and precise screening in order to ensure that society is safe. Yet, even with these programs in place, the numbers entering the prison system are steadily rising. The prisons are still overcrowded, and guards are still overworked.

Solutions for the long term must be worked out; inmates have a right to be safe, as do the guards in the prisons, whilst the general public at large has a right to know that prisoners are being kept within secure locations for relevant time periods. Each year, with the numbers in prison rising, the problem grows larger. Add to this, that on average 1 prison is issued a closure warning and the problem grows worse.

You may wonder, why some prisons are issued closure warnings, these warnings are issued once a prison has been over capacitated for a certain period of time. The federal government’s solution to this problem is to close the prison, instead of helping the states solve the problem. This is a wonderful example of why prison reform is necessary to help protect the residents of society, and indeed to protect the offenders housed within for the longer term. As we look towards the future, we can hope to start to see some progress in the way of discussions about the problem, but solutions cannot be seen on the horizon, given the immense financial commitment necessary to build more prisons and investigate alternatives.

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