Overcrowding In Corrections Essay

1499 Words 6 Pages
Since the early 1970’s, overcrowding in prisons has been a major problem throughout the whole United States correctional system. The boom in prison population came from various movements going on in the United States in the middle to late 20th century, which led to police officers arresting criminals for even the pettiest of offenses. The overcrowding in prisons was derived from the very costly War on Drugs, the Get Tough on Crime movement, which encouraged the state of California’s three strikes law, and lastly the lack of funding for the United States Department of Corrections. The overcrowding of prisons has led to a number of understaffed facilities and several prisons that are considered unsafe for the inmates and the correctional officers. …show more content…
The new drugs included cocaine, or crack, methamphetamine, heroin, and many others, some of which were completely new to the United States. When President Nixon declared the “War on Drugs”, he increased the amount of federal drug control agencies and their staffing all across the nation. Along with the increased size of drug agencies, Nixon demanded the use of mandatory sentencing for people caught with any type of illegal drug, even for a small amount of marijuana. After President Nixon’s term in the oval office commenced, President Reagan has his turn at the drug war. During Reagan’s time in office, the incarceration rates climbed exponentially due to his expansion of the war and increased funding for the war. Not only did Reagan actively campaign again the use of drugs, his wife and First Lady, Nancy Reagan, began to run her anti-drug “Just Say No” campaign. The War on Drugs still continues today and annually cost the United States a total of sixty billion dollars. (Fulkerson, pg. 55) Not only did the War on Drugs lead to a rise in violent crimes, the war led …show more content…
The drug war led to an increase of violence and the manufacturing, the distribution, and the use of illegal narcotics. The movement’s purpose was to accentuate punishment as a response for committing a crime and prevent criminals for committing new crimes. In the beginning of the Get Tough movement, many policies were put into place, such as mandatory sentencing, zero tolerance, and the three strikes. In 1994, California saw this an opportunity to “get tough” on crime and passed the three strikes law. California has been proven to be the most punitive and the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to criminal law. (Caldwell, pg. 64 ) California is also known for their high incarceration rates, which is due to the amount of gang violence and excessive amounts of drug use throughout the major cities. The three strikes law applies to violent and nonviolent criminal convictions. The three strikes law imposes “a mandatory twenty-five years to life in prison on those convicted of any felony who have been previously convicted of two offenses that are “serious or violent” felonies.” (Caldwell, pg. 64) Since the get-tough movement applied the twenty-five to life after the third offense has been committed, career criminals were taking up a significant amount of space inside the prisons. Due to the significant amount of criminals inside the state prisons across

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