A recent issue in the past decade has been the overcrowding of prisons. This overcrowding is mainly due to the fact that our country has become much more strict on violent crimes and these crimes are leading to longer and tougher sentences in state penitentiaries.
In the last 10 years it appears that the number of prisoners has risen significantly, adding 159,000 inmates to state penitentiaries. The reason for this incline is simply because of tighter laws and longer prison sentences for these broken laws. Prison has never been a place meant for safety, but with 51.2% of inmates incarcerated for violent crimes it had now become more dangerous than ever. While that number continues to rise, the number of drug offenders lower. Over the last ten years inmates convicted of drug felonies went down by 12,400 people.
Statistics show that the reason of the population increase is not because of drug related offenses. This is partially thanks to the Attorney General, Eric Holder, who stated, ” Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no good law enforcement reasons. By targeting the most serious offenses, prosecuting the most dangerous criminals, we can become both smarter and tougher on crime.”
What is interesting about his speech is that he does not mention race. Race has played a key component in prison sentencing, as it shows black people are getting longer prison sentences for the same crime committed as white people. African American’s represent over 40% of the population of prisons in the United States.
I would like to present in depth statistics on this issue that is a current problem for our country.