Criminal justice refers to the practices and systems of a government charged with ensuring that peace and order prevails in the society (Purpura, 1997). The system achieves this by deterring crimes and reducing the extent to which criminal activities affect the society. In addition to that, the system engages in punishing and correcting violators of the laid down rules and regulations.
In early times, a number of methods were used to correct law offenders. These included subjecting them to shame punishments, or exiling them. This was practiced until the emergence of prisons, which are the modern ways of executing corrections (Purpura, 1997).
The main challenge experienced in correction of criminals using the prison system is overcrowding in prisons. All over the world, many countries are currently facing this challenge. Many factors contributed to overcrowded prisons over the past. One of the main ones is the practice of according major punishments to minor offenders. This occurs when petty offenders, who would have been punished differently, are subjected to imprisonment. Another factor is the failure by the government to expand the existing prisons’ capacity in addition to building new ones. This is despite the growing number of law offenders day by day.
In some other cases, offenders, who ought to have been given a shorter jail term, are given a longer one. There has been a practice by judges to follow the “modus operandi” in making their judgments other than using common sense. This leads to minor offenders being given long prison sentences, which contributes to overcrowding in prisons.
To solve these problems, a number of things have to be done. One of them is endorsing new ways of punishing law offenders. It is not necessary that all offenders must be punished by use of a jail sentence. Those involved in less violent or non-violent crimes may be kept out of jail. Some measures, such as house arrest, probation and community service may be used.
The government should also enlarge the capacity of existing prisons, so as to accommodate more prisoners (Hough & Solomon, 2008). Additional prisons should also be built, so as to decongest the existing ones. All these activities can be implemented by instituting proper legislations to allow the efficiency in operation.