Because of this it should be replaced with other alternative methods such as community service, parole, death penalty and putting them in rehabilitation institutions such as probation schools. According to a report that was released by the Bureau for Justice Statistics revealed that in US, the number of prisoners has almost doubled recently and this has been witnessed even in the past period. For example in 1996, there was an increase in the number of inmates in United States by 55,900 criminals and by the end of that year; the carrying capacity was already exceeded by 16-24 percent.
The most affected prisons were the federal ones which had a 25 percent increase of inmates. Today despite the fact that the US government has constructed more and more prisons the problem still persists as the jails are still overcrowded. There are dangers that are associated with overcrowding and some of these are; escape attempts increase, the states’ budget is further strained, the prisons become understaffed this is because the inmates – staff ratio goes down as the number of prisoners outdo that of the staff.
Overcrowding in prisons leads to the release of unhabilitated dangerous criminals before their due period is over. This causes these criminals to turn to be recidivists for they are released before they have completed their jail term. (Romano J. 1991) This problem has a domino effect on other government sectors for example the tax payers become overburdened with taxes so that the government can meet the need of those imprisoned though they are considered as social misfits and yet this money could be used in other sectors that of the government that are in dire need of financial assistance.
These are institutions such as hospitals, schools, libraries and parks that are in dire need of assistance. The government spends a lot of money in building more jails in an effort to address the issue of overcrowding for example in 1992 it spent 94 US Dollars on civil and criminal justice. (Cornell, G. December 1, 1990) This domino effect results because when overcrowding becomes a common thing, the effectiveness in correcting the behaviors of the offenders goes down. Many people repeat the same mistakes and end up in the same jails.
This tends to overburdening of the prosecutors, juries, public defendants and other support agencies. The overburdening of cases leads results to commitment of serious mistakes in the judicial execution process something that causes dissatisfaction, anger and tension to the citizens. In turn, this results to them committing even more crimes. The overcrowding problem in the uni9ted States is caused by the high rate of recidivism which is caused by ineffectiveness of the jail systems. There are various correctional methods that if used then 5the rate of recidivism would scaled down.
This could be achieved if and only if the issue of overcrowding is properly addressed and this cannot be solved by building more prisons and jails as this has already proved not to be effective in the past. The best way forward is to use other alternative correctional methods such as community service, fines, parole, counseling the offenders, use of more harsh punishments and finally use of capital sentence punishment rather than life sentence. I believe the future of reforming criminals lies with other alternative methods but not in incarcerations.
One effective method that should be used is assigning offenders to the community service. If some of the offenders who are taken to the prisons and yet they have not committed some serious crimes are given some work to do in the society, the rate of overcrowding in the prisons would be reduced. This is based on the fact that some offenders who are convicted with very minor charges end up in jails and that is why in US today there are about two million people in jails and this number keeps increasing.
By assigning offenders to community service will not only help the government in resolving the problem of overcrowding but will also help in cutting the cost it spends on hiring people to work in hospitals, cleaning streets and slashing grass on the compound. This would be beneficial in that these offenders would do that work there by helping the government to save some money. Another method is use of parole. This is a system where by the first offenders who are convicted of committing small mistakes instead of them being jailed, they are released on condition that they would not repeat the same mistakes.
Though they are released they are closely monitored by the government officials who are assigned to them just to monitor their moves. If it is noted that they are not keeping the promise, then they should be arrested and imprisoned. (Marek M. K. 2004). The other method that should be used as an alternative method to incarceration would be the use of capital sentence as opposed to the current system of life sentence. Most states in the United States do not advocate for capital sentence but if other methods have proved not to be ineffective then it should be used as the last option.
The prison statutes should be amended to allow die hard criminals such as robbers, rapists, murders and terrorists to be executed. If this is implemented then the current stalemate would be solved for once and for all. Se of death sentence would be like killing two birds with one stone at the same time as the government would cut the cost that it spends on maintaining these prisoners would be reduced. Still another method that should be used as an alternative to incarceration is the use of fines.
Offenders who are convicted of committing less serious crimes should instead of being incarcerated be fined heavily. This would address the problem of overcrowding and at the same time deter crimes. This is why the Hudson County has introduced use of fines as an effective means of collecting revenues as the traditional methods have proved to be ineffective. (Romano J. 1991) Counseling of offenders would also be an effective method of reducing overcrowding in the United States prisons. This method would also address the problem of recidivism.
When the offenders are properly counseled they get reformed and the prospects of them repeating the same mistakes are reduced for many turn to crimes due to being frustrated in life. Indeed the American jail system has failed in correcting the behaviors of the offenders. These people are released when they are halfway reformed and that is why they turn to be recidivists. There are other alternative methods that are more effective than incarcerating prisoners that should be applied. If these are applied, then the problem of overcrowding and of recidivism would be addressed and the crime prevalence would go down.
Reference: Cornell, G. December 1, 1990. Rehabilitation Statistics: Study on Effectiveness of Prison Ministries. The Wilson Daily Times. Accessed on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at http://www. prisonministry. org/stats. htm Marek M. K. 2004. Games Prisoners Play. Princeton University Press. Romano J. October 27, 1991. County Uses New Tactic On Criminals' Unpaid Fines. New York Times. Accessed on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at http://query. nytimes. com/gst/fullpage. html? res=9D0CE7D8113DF934A15753C1 A967958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all