Prison Overpopulation

A General Treatment Strategy
By Erin Reiner
Mike Reed
Ryan Kliem
The Statement of the problem
What: The overcrowding of U.S. prisons has
placed extreme pressure on correctional
facilities as well as the inmates they serve.
Who: Prison overcrowding has many adverse affects on inmates.
Where: Prison Overcrowding is currently taking
place in all correctional institutions (County,
State and Federal).
Statement of the Problem Cont.
When: In 1980 there were roughly 500,000 in prison.
In 2006 there were 2,245,189 people in prison. (BJS)
Why: The generation-long growth of imprisonment
has occurred not because of growing crime rates,
but because of changes in sentencing policy
How (does it affect society?):
“Incarceration…has had numerous unintended
consequences, ranging from racial injustice and
damage to families and children to worsening public
health, civil disengagement, and even increases in
crime.” (See JFA report)
Statement of the Solution
Ideally we would like to return the number of
prisoners to under 1 million. We hope to lower
levels of recidivism and create more humane
conditions for those whom are imprisoned.
Procedure of Treatment
A. Reduce time served in prison
B. Eliminate the use of prison for parole or probation technical
C. Reduce the length of parole and probation supervision
D. Do not incarcerate those who commit “victimless” crimes,
particularly those related to drug use and abuse.
E. Instate work programs and housing assistance for released
Parent Conceptual Themes
(Theoretical Support)
Levitt, Steven D.. 1996. The Effect of Prison Population Size on
Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation.
The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 111 (No. 2): 319351.
Chappell, Duncan. 1988. “International Developments in
Corrections,” The Prison Journal, LXVIII: 34-40.
Travis and Waul’s “From Prison to Home.” In Charon &
Vigilant’s Social Problems: Reading w/Four Questions. 2006.
Goldstone, Jack A.. 2002. “Forging Social Order and Its Break
down: Riot and Reform in U.S. Prisons”. American
Sociological Review. Vol.67 pp. 499-525.
Range of Application
The treatment strategy will only apply to adults. The
treatment strategy excludes all people convicted of a violent
Auxiliary Assumptions
1. Increased amounts of drug trade, due to less
severe consequences.
2. Monetary fines can cause hardships for families.
(with children)
3. The treatment strategy will not work on everyone!
The success of the treatment strategy
will be measured by examining the
trends in future prison populations.