A heavily debated argument within the realm of prison systems in the U.S. is how to reduce the population within them safely, without putting communities at risk.
Let’s face it, often when criminals are sentenced, the effects of the sentence on the economy and to the prisoner are often ignored. Keeping inmates imprisoned for extended periods of time requires money that is taking away from other services that the government could provide such as healthcare and education. There is simply not enough funds to sufficiently keep millions of prisoners within the prison system.
Let’s dive into the best ways to solve this issue that current government officials and policy makers are struggling to wrap their head around. Obviously, simply increasing the budget for prisons would likely solve many problems within the system, but come on…would the government really do that? It would be disregarded so many other services that require attention and a provide a weak solution that utilizes too many resources.
What prison systems need to do to reduce populations is to increase the availability of effective methods of identifying candidates for early release from prison. This encourages inmates to correct their behavior, possibly leading to an early release. While this good behavior occurs throughout prison systems, there are not enough methods in place to monitor and to evaluate candidates for early release. Along with community-based supervision and support, early released inmates and their communities can see major benefits .
This isn’t necessarily the ultimate solution to reducing prison populations, but I think that it would provide a foundation that can be expanded upon, if executed correctly. The most important step needed in order to reduce prison populations in the future, is to simply reduce the amount of people that are being sent to prison. This will require a lot of time and effort to accomplish and it is a complex issue to debate, but that is what needs to occur to stabilize the U.S. prison system.
Until next time,