One of the contemporary problems existing within the U.S. correction system is overcrowding. A recent study by the Human Rights Watch found that many federal and state prisons operated at 100 percent beyond their capacity. Another contemporary problem in this system is discrimination based on race. The Blacks are the most affected by this problem because they constitute the highest percentage of inmates. This type of discrimination is having great effects in the U.S. specifically in the area of voting (The US Prison System, 2010).
The Rockefeller Drug Laws have had a major impact on the correction system. Enacted in 1973, the Rockefeller Drugs Laws stipulate very harsh prison terms for individuals caught in possession of drugs, thus contributing to the increase of population in the U.S. prisons (The Rockefeller Drug Laws, 2005).
One of the issues faced by staff members in correction facilities is the shortage of staff. Despite the increased population in prisons, the number of personnel is very low there. Another issue which prison staff is concerned about is low pay. They are among the lowly paid employees in the country. Studies indicate that such a low payment for prison staff is performed because of the increased costs of maintaining correctional facilities, thus making it difficult for the government to increase their salaries (The US Prison System, 2010).
The stressful working environment in prisons has resulted in many cases of burnout among the prison officers. Officer burnout is a situation when an officer works in a stressful environment and as a result shows a variety of reactions such as cynicism and abuse of power (Police Officer Burnout, 2012). The courts can help in changing the way prison officers perceive their jobs by making decisions, which emphasize offenders’ reform as opposed to punishment. Due to this prison staff view prisons as a place where individuals undergo reform to become better members of the society.
It is clear that the courts have contributed to the current overcrowding condition in the U.S. correction facilities. This is due to the slow nature of the courts in hearing and deciding different cases. Many offenders serve longer jail terms as they wait for their cases to be heard and decided by the courts. The courts have also contributed to the poor administration of the correction facilities because they do not advice the prison administrators on the best remedies that certain offenders should be provided with in order to help them reform (The US Prison System, 2010).
As for me, I am not very concerned about the current condition of the U.S. correction facilities because it is not a new thing. As a short-term measure, I would start soliciting funds to expand accommodation facilities in the existing correction facilities, and advocating for a construction of more correction facilities and improvement of the justice system as a long-term measure of solving the problems in these facilities. In my opinion, I believe that cynicism is very common not only in this type of facilities, but also in the criminal justice system in general. This is because both prison and courts staff work under very stressful conditions. The ratio of the number of service providers in the criminal justice system and the number of people requiring their services is very high.