Overcrowding in prisons is dangerous to inmates, staff members (security and non-security) and the facility itself. It also impedes on the opportunity for any kind of rehabilitation among inmates to take place within the prison walls no matter how many rehabilitation programs are offered. There are also numerous illegal aliens that are incarcerated who should be deported upon breaking the law.
These conditions cause more restricted movement of inmates, crowding cells with 2-3 inmates to a cell made for 1 inmate; therefore decreasing privacy and increasing inmate misconduct and violent behavior not only towards staff but to other inmates as well. Yard time and cafeteria time has been shortened. An inmate’s yard time is where he or she is able to work out and release whatever stresses he or she may be dealing with whether it be personal or just everyday prison life. Although yard time is one of the most dangerous times it should still be given and not shortened.
When non-violent offenders are forced to be housed with violent offenders there is a rise of violent behavior. Violent offender’s prey off the non-violent offender; manipulating them for a wide range of things such as turning over their commissary goods, shoes, hygiene products, food from the cafeteria, forcing them to perform sexual acts and etc. Crowding causes irritation among inmates and eventually there are more and more acts of violence from inmates. However their acts of violence are not to be all justified due to overcrowding but should be noted.
The more heavy concern of overcrowding is the risk to the staff (security and non-security). This causes a higher ratio of inmates to officers. Each state prison and federal prison has an allowed number of inmates to officer ratio and on a daily basis officer’s work with the inmate ratio doubled some even tripled. Among the inmates getting irritable not only towards other inmates but they are more likely to snap and violently act out on or at an officer with no regard for consequences. The morale of the officers is constantly low and the heath issues of officers are high. At any point and time the inmates can easily cause a riot due to their rising frustration and take over the prison not only putting all staff at risk and standing on the edge of death or other horrifying attacks but the community surrounding the outside of the prison also becomes at risk. The officers not only maintain order, protect each other and inmates but also protect the surrounding community by being able to maintain the security of the facility. But staff is struggling everyday to maintain that security of their facility and to uphold their oath to protect the community with this vast rise of overcrowding.
Rehabilitation programs that are in place within a prison are becoming less and less effective due to budget cuts, shorter class times and inability to designate an area for a program due to having to find another location for inmates to be housed. Programs such as AA and NA are also less and less available therefore inmates are released from prison giving them no foundation or insight on how to deal with their addiction which