August 23, 2018

The Problems Facing the US Prison System Today

Note: This post has been contributed.
We hear a lot about prisons in the US and most of the coverage tends to be negative. There are many reasons for that, but many people still don’t fully understand the specific problems overwhelming the prison system today and why these issues are so pressing. Change in certain areas is certainly going to be required to make the system more functional and sustainable going forward. So keep reading to find out about the biggest problems today.
Falling Crime Rate is Not Resulting in Falling Incarceration Rates
Even though crime rates in America have been falling for a few years, this has not led to any decrease in the number of people being incarcerated in America. This is a strange problem, but one that gets to the heart of many problems in America. Prison target should never come before justice. In a healthy society, a fall in crime would lead to lower rates of people getting locked up.
Racial Disparities
There is a clear disparity between black and white inmates in prisons, with the former being more overrepresented in prisons than the latter. The numbers for incarceration rates along racial lines are worse today in America than in Apartheid South Africa, so this is clearly something that needs to be taken seriously and hopefully addressed. It’s a huge problem though, so it won’t be easy to overcome.
Long Sentences for Nonviolent Crimes
There are now a significant number of people in US prisons serving life sentences for crimes that were completely nonviolent. Many people question the worth and reasoning behind this policy, and whether it’s the right thing to be doing. The belief that only people who’ve committed violent crimes should serve life in prison is growing in popularity. There are many campaigning for the situation to be changed.
Confusing and Inconsistent Bail Bonds System
When people don’t even understand the bail bond system, it’s pretty evident that there are ways the system can improve. There are also some inconsistencies that people have highlighted in recent years. Luckily, there are organizations like Alamo City Bail Bonds that can help people to navigate the process when they’re having difficulties or don’t know where to start. It would help if the system was improved and simplified though.
Because of the skyrocketing prison numbers in America, overcrowding is becoming an issue that’s hard to ignore. There simply aren’t enough places for all the people who are being sent to prison, and this might be linked to harsher rules meaning prison sentences are being given for crimes that wouldn’t previously have warranted such a punishment. Whatever the causes, it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
The American prison system is not in the healthiest state right now, and even compared to 30 years ago, the situation is far, far worse. It will take root and branch reform to overcome these problems because they’re truly systemic right now, but it remains to be seen whether there is the motivation there to make it happen.