Ways To Reduce Prison Rates (Also A Mental Health Concern)


Source: pxhere.com


Every day, around 1 out of 115 or 2.2 million people in the United States go to prison. Unfortunately, the records have doubled over the past two and a half decades already. Crime rates are still steadily increasing while almost half of the released prisoners go back to the cell within three years’ time. So there’s no wonder that the American prison as of today is comparable to a crowded poultry farm.

The rapid spike of prisoners has not increased the state of public safety in America at all. These data is according to the records of federal statistics. It means that the US government is throwing billions of dollars funding a system that has failed over and over again. That’s because America’s justice system is broken and its racism is evident. Let’s say for example the African-American community has almost 37 percent of the total incarcerated prisoners. Majority of them are behind bars even though they only comprise a small percentage to the entire population of the nation


Source: defense.gov


The Justice System

The state policymakers should pass bills that target the cause of high crime and prison rates to repair the broken justice system. However, the system lacks evaluation so if ever there’s a chance, the revision should include factors like the total length of time served in prison and the number of people admitted or readmitted into incarceration facilities. Since the justice system is complex, several ways in the process of reconstructing the necessary policies need research and attention.


  • The Use of Prison Alternatives – What’s making the prison crowded is the number of people incarcerated due to substance abuse, non-violent related crimes, and mental health disorders. These typical issues should be separated or diverted away from the criminal justice system. Policymakers should reevaluate the total number of years of the sentence given to each one of these crimes. They should expand the use of an alternative to prison in their state.


  • Choosing Health Treatment Rather Than Incarceration – As much as possible, crimes related to mental illness and substance abuse should be diverted into health treatment and psychiatric facilities instead of sending the individual to an incarceration facility. There are lots of prison alternatives like community correction facilities, drug and mental institutions, and even community services. Using these areas as a diversion to prison will drastically lower the total population in jail all over the country.


Source: defense.gov


  • Petty Crimes Should Be Reevaluated And Decriminalized – Low-level felonies should be reclassified to be able to get proper sentencing. Crimes which are not as heavy as the likes of murder should only get sentenced for short jail time. Increasing the use of incarceration facilities for crimes like possession of illegal drugs should become a priority instead. That’s for the contribution to the inflation of the prison population.


  • Restrictions In Prison For Technical Violations – About 50 percent of the released prisoners, reenter the prison again after three years. These cases are mostly from technical reasons like missing meetings with the probation officer, for failing the drug test, or leaving the state. The state should implement graduated sanctions for grave violations and heavily restrict the prison for technical parole violators.


  • Reduce The Length Of Prison Sentence – Some crimes go with the absurd amount of sentencing that somehow impacts the nation and public safety. Lawmakers should reform the sentencing policies and create much more effective guidelines instead of keeping prisoners on bars for a very long time. With this, the government’s justice system will not only lessen the funding on incarceration facilities, but it may also somehow save billions of taxpayers’ money as well. The state should allow its inmates to reduce their sentence through good behavior provided with exact requirements.


There are a lot of more effective policies that can be applied by the state to the criminal justice system. However, it is essential to understand the importance of proper implementation so the new management can work.