Prison overcrowding is a serious problem in the USA, since it proves to be an elusive phenomenon. National and international players have been involved to deal with it for many decades. Overcrowding is highlighted as a representative characteristic troubling modern prison since its invention in the 19th century (Farrington & Nuttall, 1980). There were many ongoing debates in California and in the whole USA on how to resolve prison overcrowding and to demonstrate problems, prison systems were faced with, when prisons were seriously overpopulated. Politicians were also faced with these problems looking for a rapid way out of prison overcrowding under the double pressure of court orders and severe fiscal crisis. The research has been carried out on the ways of innovating tracking systems, which mainly focus on the location and data management technology used for the criminal justice system that emphasizes monitoring probationers and paroles. According to the recent statistics, because of the overwhelming prison population in the USA, there is a need to curb recidivism.
The debates show that the problem of prison overcrowding is located at the intersection of several useful policies and crime research-related issues. The paper highlights criminal sentencing, the role of prisons sentences and imprisonment in the criminal sanction system of the USA, the standards adopted for accommodating prisoners and providing adequate health care services and rehabilitative services. Much attention is paid to those crimes that attract sentences.
The Federal statistics of 2005 indicated that more than 2.1 million people were held in federal prisons. This was the highest number of prisoners, since it had risen by 600,000 from 1995. The previous figures indicated that there were almost 200,000 prisoners in federal prisons in 1972. The rate of overcrowding in federal prisons forced a call for a decrease in prisoners’ sentence in 2002.
Nowadays, the USA is faced with a dire need of the capacity of their prisons; however, it is a very costive idea, since it will consume billion dollars for the construction process of new prisons. This has placed both the state and the federal government in dilemma as they are unable to fund the whole project. There is a need of an immediate solution of the problem of overcrowded prisons both by the government and other stakeholders. Studies indicate that parole and probation systems are over-burdened and underfunded making the prisoner rehabilitation program ineffective. The increase in Americans on probation by over 5 million in the period from 1995 to 2005, made the system ineffective, since probation officers are overloaded with prisoners (Bonta & Motiuk, 1987).
The case was brought to the court by the formation of a three-judge panel presiding over the case of CDCR in the issue of unsatisfactory health services provided to prisoners as a result of overcrowded federal prisons. They argued for the provision of adequate healthcare to inmates, according to the U.S. constitution. In this case, in order for CDCR to provide adequate health care, there was a need of reducing the number of prisoners in federal prisons by more than 137.5% within two years. On May 23, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court boosted the above ruling by stating that without reducing prisoners, there will be no effectual remedy for unconstitutional health care and mental well-being of inmates in California (Levitt, 1996).
One of the articles named“Corrections Management Quarterly”, explains that probation and parole offices lack required resources and probable techniques necessary for the security sector. This raised caseloads of those individuals, which proved to be motivated offenders previously, which were located wherecrime and vulnerable victims abound, and which wereanonymous, because of the absence offormal or informal supervision. Agents were inclined to let nature take its course towait for a police to arrest those offenders, which committed new crimes beingunsupervised.