There are several methods which are most often used in an attempt

There are several methods which are most often used in an attempt to deal with the
current problem of overcrowded prisons. Many states have made the decision to build new
correctional facilities to house current and future prisoners. This approach to the problem does
nothing to rectify the situation; it simply promotes the domino effect in regards to the need to
continue building more facilities.
An additional method of dealing with the overcrowding problem, is leaving convicted
criminals in smaller local facilities instead of transferring them to state prisons; again this does
not solve the problem due to the fact that the smaller facilities do not have the capability to
properly deal with violent offenders for long periods of time and therefore, these prisoners must
be transferred eventually, i.e. this is only a temporary “fix.”
Another approach of dealing with the problem is the use of stringent rehabilitation
programs which would allow inmates to be released from prison early; these programs would
also follow the inmates after release in order to help assure they do not return to their former
lives of crime which would greatly reduce the recidivism rate.
In regards to the state of Illinois, the method which is currently proving to be most
successful in reducing prison overcrowding is the implementation of a ground-breaking program
which may soon be adopted by various other states which are currently experiencing
overcrowding in their correctional facilities. “With its innovative plan to keep released inmates
from coming back, the Sheridan Correctional Center is trying to redefine "tough on crime" by
being the largest fully dedicated drug prison in the country. The approach involves aggressive
counseling, job training, and following the convicts after they get out” (PBS, 2010).
This type of program works because it does not simply shuffle inmates from one place to
another; it actually addresses the personal problems of inmates and makes changes in their
behaviors and ways of thinking in order to assure they remain crime-free after release. Unlike
building new facilities in order to house more criminals this type of program has the propensity
to greatly reduce the number of inmates not only in the state of Illinois but throughout the
country if other facilities recognize the benefits of implementing this type of rehabilitation
Barnes, T. (2009, November 16). State seeks ways to reduce prison overcrowding. Retrieved November 19, 2010, from
PBS. (2010, April 2). Maximum Capacity. NOW on PBS. PBS: Public Broadcasting Service.
Retrieved November 19, 2010, from