Prison Overcrowding The issue of prison overcrowding has been identified as a major cause of inefficiency in correctional facilities and thus needs to be studied. Studying the problem will be a step forward in improving the efficiency in prisons.
The aims of this study will be to identify and critically assess the extent of overcrowding in prisons and its effects on inmates and staff. It will establish or identify the gaps in the prison systems. It will also assist in establishing or evaluating solutions to the problems brought about by overcrowding in prisons. It will clearly show the link or connection between overcrowding and reduced inefficiencies in prisons.
Since the 1970’s and the early 1980s, the number of people in prisons started to rise at unprecedented rates. The number of prisoners grew and it was difficult for prison staff to track the names and locations of the inmates. Supervising and overseeing the inmates became a hard task for them. Today, the numbers have excessively risen and prison overcrowding is a major issue. Funding the prisons does not match the number of inmates and this result to miserable conditions in prisons. Prisons should have conducive environment to avoid inflicting unnecessary pain and harm that would have negative effects when inmates are released to the free world. When the numbers outweigh the resources available, the prison system becomes unstable. Facilities are not enough for all inmates.
Dysfunctional effects of overcrowding
Overcrowding causes chronic pains to inmates. Their behavior, health and morale are negatively affected. It is observed that the have blood pressure due to the stressful conditions they live in. the illness levels are higher as such inmates undergo physical and psychological impairment. In general, inmates face the greatest problems due to this issue. The number of social interactions rises and they live in uncertainty and confusion. The system is unable to address the special needs of inmates. Those with mental health needs cannot be well screened, monitored or managed as there is no capacity to address their special needs. Problematic prisoners are also not well catered for as it is difficult to address them. The number of unidentified and untreated inmates deteriorates with overcrowding and this reduces the efficiency of prison systems. (Kuppers et al 1999)
Educational needs of inmates are inappropriately addressed. The number of inmates is uncontrollable and the illiteracy levels rise. Access to jobs by inmates is slow and some do not get jobs at all. This could be attributed to their illiteracy levels as well as lack of assignments, which can give them skills, and experience. The number of inmates is too high to be absorbed in the few prison industry programs. Allocation of tasks is also affected. Such idleness has negative psychological and behavioral effects. It exposes them to violence and destructive behavior, which adds no value in making them better persons on re-entry into the society.