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Cja 463 - Policy Development Paper - Reducing Prison Overcrowding

Autor:   •  September 3, 2011  •  Term Paper  •  2,419 Words (10 Pages)  •  2,875 Views

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Reducing Prison Overcrowding


Prison overcrowding has been a major problem in this country for the last 20 years. This problem stemmed from many different causes or reasons. The fundamental breakdown of the correctional system as a whole has contributed to this problem. This has caused havoc within our system in many different ways especially from a financial standpoint. It cost a tremendous amount of money to house prisoners, and death row inmates cost of incarceration is astronomically high. As this paper goes along we will look at some of the reasons as to why our prisons are overcrowded, and how we might be able to remedy the situation.

Prison overcrowding has become an issue in just about every state in the country, and especially in California, New York, and Texas. In 1980 there were states that a tougher outlook on crime which in turn resulted in several new policies that were adopted. California adopted, and enforced the three strike policy, and New York implemented the broken window policy. According to Jerome Mullins," the three strike law has significantly increased the overcrowding of prisons" (Mullins, 2005). This policy increases the prison sentence for those already serving time although it also prevents a person previously convicted from receiving any punishment other prison time.

California had major impacts due to this law from the onset, and in less than a year major implications begin to surface. After a mere six months there were over 7400 second or third strike cases that had been filed while two thirds of them were in Los Angeles. This law being in effect has completely affected the whole system as a result of it. The three strike law directly affected the plea bargaining agreements while jamming the courts with cases that would have normally plead down. With this trend taking place 14% percent of the second strike cases were plead down whereas only six percent of the third strike cases. While increases all throughout the system one of the biggest impact was in the correctional facilities. Being most of all the cases were awaiting impending trials the result of this was more people being held in jails awaiting trials.

As this paper has just revealed as to why the state of California has had many problems with overcrowding now it will show why New York had the same problem. New York has instituted the Broken Windows law which was enacted to arrest and prosecute criminals regardless of the severity of the crime. The broken window law asserted itself as a law that was put in place as a strict law to enforce while also as a deterrent. According to Hope Corman "the New York Police thinks the only way to fight crime consistently is with the arrest rate" (Corman, 2002). The arrest rate for felony offenses grew at a rapid rate, and at


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