The Americans have a strong believe in prison myths like the prison pays which have greatly allowed the policymakers to be very tough on crime and also lengthen the prison sentences for all the nonviolent offenses. The increasing punitive sentences have been known to create and encourage overcrowding in the prisons. This has resulted to a more aggressive prison culture with also the tremendous social problems that include prison rape. The prisoners have to be socialized to the overcrowded environment and most of them choose to have relationships in order to maintain their mental and physical health. Some of these relationships include sexual relationships between the prisoners, and other social relationships such as religious groups and gangs. These relationships however could be detrimental to the self-identities of the prisoners because they begin to act immorally or violently (Rob, Enver & Hough 2008).
This overcrowding in the prisons may also produce huge social problems for both the society and the prisoners. This is because most of these prisoners return to their communities as mentally unstable or more violent than when they were imprisoned. A good solution and better than mere incarceration, based on the doctrines of therapeutic jurisprudence, would help to promote the physical and psychological well-being of the individuals and also protect the entire society. This therapeutic jurisprudence suggests that the policymakers help promote the rehabilitation programs in order that the inmates are reintegrated into the society being productive citizens. This is in opposition to the current situation where the prisoners are held for extended periods of time in the un-conducive environment which serve to only make them harder criminals when they are released. This therapeutic approach will finally benefit the society and also the prisoners and this has been tried in the United States (Wayne 1995).
In Britain the prisons are in big crisis, it is reported that the population in the prisons has soared, the jails have become excessively and seriously overcrowded, and also the rates of re-offending have increased. The statistics show that the emergency measures that have been put in place have seen the early releasing of the violent offenders, and also the community sentences command limited public confidence (Lawrence 1995).
The building of new prisons would be a necessary measure in order to accommodate all those who have sentenced by the courts and also decrease the overcrowding in the existing prisons. This is however not a means to an end to itself. This is because nearly of all the crimes are done or committed by the ex-prisoners and one in five of the recorded crimes are committed by the ex-prisoners also. The correct way to decrease the population of the prisons is to do away with the sequence of re-offending and also decrease crime. The goals are to bring back confidence to the criminal justice system, launch the rehabilitation revolution and also re-design the prisons in this 21st century (Rob, Enver & Hough 2008).
Another policy that will be necessary is the introduction of honesty in sentencing so that the courts will set a maximum and a minimum period without the possibility of any parole till the minimum term has been served. The prison governors should be the people to decide when short to the medium-term detainees are released. There should be also the end of the automatic release for all the determinate sentences to make sure that no prisoner will be automatically released from the custody except they served the full term. Prisoners are allowed to be released wholly dependent on their progress and conduct in their custody (Kuhn 1996).
The custodial and community sentences should be based on four pillars that include work and rehabilitation for the offenders, reparation for victims, and punishment. The community sentences should be made to be effective and tough through improving compliance. These community sentences should be made more visible and there should be also the introduction of new sanctions for all breaches that include benefit withdrawal for them that do not attend to the community sentences. There should also be the enforcement of the Drug Rehabilitation Requirements through contracting third sector and private organizations to control the programmes of treatment and also remunerate the organizations by results (George & Paul 2000).
Juliet Lyons who is a member of the Prison Reform Trust explained that the overcrowded prisons in Europe have lurched from one crisis to another and a sequence of short-term, unplanned measures which have made the situation worse. The crisis was predicted and predictable especially fuelled by policies and legislation which have always ignored effectiveness, cost or consequences, coupled with the absence of a logical strategic direction. The statistics in these two countries indicate that the population in the prisons is nearly 82,000 exceeding the total capacity in the prison estate. There are so many prisoners who are housed overnight in the police cells, and holding cells in the courts with no access to the proper catering facilities and proper sanitation, let alone training courses, drug treatment, rehabilitative treatment, or prisoner education (Solomon 2009).
Statistics also show that more than 18,000 prisoners have been set free earlier since June of the year 2007. This resulted in more than 300 crimes which were committed by these offenders who were released. It is also reported that 90 prisoners committed suicide, almost 40% more than in the previous year, 2006. More than half of the prisons are all overcrowded; and 19 are plainly full. 65% of all the prisoners are however convicted of more serious offences in the course of two years. A third of them that are placed under probation, the levels of supervision breach this order within only six months. More than a third of those that come before the courts again have more than ten previous cautions or convictions. There is also another reason that explains prison overcrowding; the increasing violent and serious crimes mean that magistrates and judges send the violent criminals to the prisons for longer durations and this is according to Cindy Barnett who is the chair of the Magistrates Association. The second described reason is the imposition of the unsuitable top-down targets and also a failing bureaucratic experiment which have paralyzed the probation officers and prison governors. This highly frustrates the goal of the management of the end-to-end offenders. Cindy also explains that Labor has ignored the trend in prisons and also the outcomes of the legislation, they failed to give enough prison capacity (Lawrence 1995).
The World Population List, the 8th Edition, indicated that more than 9.8 million persons were locked up in jails and prisons at the closing stages of 2008. Nearly half of these were in three countries: Russia accounting for 0.89 million, United States accounting for 2.29 million and China accounting for 1.57 million. The populations in the prisons had increased in more than 7 countries out of every possible 10 countries. There are however pro-imprisonment policies because there is an increase in the public fear of crime, the disillusionment with the existing criminal justice system, there are also the rising belief that the prisoners cannot be rehabilitated. The growth of strength of the retributive philosophies of all punishment is also another factor (Fox 2008).
There are also some two basic strategies that are put in place in order to reduce the prison overcrowding. It is very important to decrease the number of persons who go into prisons as the first step. This may be achieved by diverting the offenders who are less serious to other alternatives to prisons. Most of the time, this can be done under the existing regulations and laws. This however may require legislation. There is also the curtailing of the requirement of the pre-trial detention for all minor crimes which is one way to achieve the reduction of the prison overcrowding (George & Paul 2000).
There is also the second strategy which is to decrease the time that the offenders spend in the prisons. This can be done by fastening up of the court hearings for them that are detained before any trial. There is also the reduction of the length of the sentences that are imposed on the offenders. The prisoners who behave well may be also released earlier because of good behavior. Many countries have also adopted this parole as a means to reduce the prison overcrowding.
In February 2009 in San Francisco, a federal court was hearing some final arguments in the prison overcrowding lawsuit. This led to an unprecedented decision to decrease the largest prison system in the entire nation by nearly one-third. At the same time there was a man who was convicted to be in possession of 0.003 grams of methamphetamine. He was sentenced under the so called “three-strikes law” meaning that he would take 25 years in prison for 3-times felons. This according to the critics of the justice system in California was the chief kind of punishment which made the state’s prisons to be the most overcrowded in the entire nation (Solomon 2009).
This ruling showed the intention of the court to cap the number of prisoners currently at about 101,000, to a reduction of nearly 55,000. This came after ten years of the federal court orders from the exasperated judges who had demanded that the state improve its personnel and its facilities, prior to the appointment of the influential federal receivership before the days of the forced racial integration in the South, and also after the death of so many prisoners who had committed suicide or even died of so many preventable diseases. The judges had encouraged the state to discuss with the lawyers of the intimates in order to cut the population in the prison from the current 156,000, which is nearly double the capacity of the system, within only three years. In the case where the state refuses to discuss this plan, the judges would order some actions which include shortened prison sentences, diversion of the nonviolent felons to the county programs, and also include parole reforms which would reduce recidivism (George & Paul 2000).
The federal judges described that the state would save $903 million annually by reducing the prison population. This would also not jeopardize about public safety. The Attorney General of California guaranteed to appeal the final order of the judges to the United States Supreme Court. This is a move that would delay the exercising of this prison population cap or worse enough overturn it (Fox 2008).
There have been many years of tough-on-crime laws together with failure to give enough to the prison programmes have left the prisoners being stacked three bunks lofty in the prison gymnasiums and the hallways in the entire state. With limited parole and probation programs available, nearly two-thirds of all the ex-convicts go back to the prison within only three years. The three-strike law doubles sentences for the second-time felons, and also the reserves life sentences for even the non-violent third-felony offenders increase the population in the prison by thousands. As for the statistics dated March 2008, there were nearly 41,284 prisoners who were serving time under this law of three-strikes. The California Legislative Analyst Office later in the year 2005 estimated that this three-strike law cost this state $500 million yearly (Solomon 2009).
There is also the major reform plan for the reduction of crime in most of the countries. This moves above the prison capacity logistics. It also provides a sketch of how we can attain real change for a better world. The United Kingdom is aiming at reducing the long-term pressure currently on the prison population. The rehabilitation revolution slows the growth of the population in the prisons and hence stabilizes it. However, the population in the prisons is expected to increase to 100,000 by 2020, though under our plans it is expected to be 1,000 less than this by the year 2015 and nearly 6,000 less by 2020. This cannot be done through the utilization of the artificial measures that are short-term which undermine trust and also put the entire population at risk. This will be achieved over the long-term in the acceptable ways and these are by ensuring there are fewer offenders committing few crimes. There was also the introduction of ECL (End of Custody License scheme) which was introduced in June of 2007 serving as an emergency measure of easing the overcrowding in prisons. This was in the United Kingdom where this policy granted prisoners sentences of not more than four years which is a further 18 days off the actual length of their serving sentence, on addition to the 50% remission and also any time that is spent on remand (George & Paul 2000).
There is also the reform of extending the deportation of the foreign offenders. This is to make sure that all the Border and Immigration Agency are needed to seek the deportation of every eligible and qualified foreign national, not only serving more than a year. This was after realizing that there are so many foreign nationals who account for more than 15% of the population in the prisons of almost all countries. This was to ensure that the prison capacity would not be taken up by any foreign nationals.
Many countries especially in the United Kingdom and the United States have started to offer education and also job placement. This working to design, deliver and develop programmes effects the social change, both to the private and to the public sector. The job placements are for ex-offenders and approximately 7,500 ex-offenders in the UK have been placed in more than 3,500 organizations through the help of A4E (George & Paul 2000).
The reforms regarding reduction of prison overcrowding help to promote and increase the levels of globalization in the whole world. In the United States there exists the National Prison Overcrowding Project which is managed by the Center for Effective Public Policy which took place in the year 1981. It grew out of a great desire by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and National Institute of Corrections to integrate a wide systemic view in their efforts to manage prison overcrowding. There have groups of diverse and significant policymakers who now exist in the states of Oregon, South Carolina, Colorado and Michigan who understand how the criminal justice works and are responsible for changing the system. The process is aimed at attaining systemic, long-term change other than the fixation of quick solutions. The policy group is the main focus which comprises of the three branches of governments and also the high-ranking officials from the criminal justice agencies, private citizens and also the local law enforcement. The participation of every member in the policy analysis is very significant largely because of the technical nature of the matter and also the value-laden (Lawrence 1995).
The contemporary responses that have been given to the notion of progressing some sense of criminal justice through longer prison sentences and also tougher penalties has led to a big crisis for the correctional administrators. Some critics argue that politics are also involved in this social problem in prisons as they argue that there are politically motivated initiatives that are based on the social concerns which are totally ill-informed and are thought to be the chief instigators for the problem of prison overcrowding (Januszyk 1997). They also argue that police, people, politicians and also the media know very little of what actually happens in the prisons. Therefore this is why the imposition of tough sentences has adverse effects for the program providers and correctional administrators.