Prison Overcrowding term papers and essays

When the demand for space in a prison exceeds the ability of the location to contain the number of prisoners, this is known as prison overcrowding.  Causes of prison overcrowding include the fact that the number of offenders in countries such as the United States continues to grow, and governments are not able to build new prisons fast enough. Also, legislation has been toughened to include mandatory sentencing laws and the adoption of a zero-tolerance justice system, which sees more people incarcerated for even minor offenses.  The affects of prison overcrowding include stress among inmates and staff, an increased level of violence, the spread of disease, and the early release of potentially dangerous offenders into society to make way for new criminals. Several solutions for overcrowded prisons have been suggested, including the increase of prison capacity through the construction of new prisons or converting existing facilities into correctional centers. In addition, offenders, especially those who have been sentenced for non-violent or minor crimes, could be kept out of prison and serve their sentence in other forms, such as community service, house arrest or probation. In some cases, prisoners who can be monitored and sufficiently trusted, can be allowed to attend work release programs, returning to the prison after a shift. This could also temporarily relieve overcrowding in prisons, at least for several hours.

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