Prison Reform

April 6, 2007 • Volume 17, Issue 13
Are too many nonviolent criminals being incarcerated?
By Peter Katel

Introduction

Inmates are packed like sardines at the California state prison in Los Angeles. An independent agency says the state's overloaded corrections system is “in a tailspin that threatens public safety.”  (AP Photo/California Department of Corrections)
Inmates are packed like sardines at the California state prison in Los Angeles. An independent agency says the state's overloaded corrections system is “in a tailspin that threatens public safety.” (AP Photo/California Department of Corrections)

America has more people in prisons and jails — 2.2 million — than any other country in the world. And over the next five years, the number of prison inmates is projected to grow three times faster than the national population. Prison crowding in California has become so critical that Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has tried sending inmates to other states. And in Philadelphia a federal judge has called crowded conditions in city jails inhumane, warning that prisoners might have to be released. With the cost of housing prisoners projected to reach $40 billion by 2011, alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent crimes are being proposed, even by law-and-order prison officials and politicians. Meanwhile, support is growing for more rehabilitation programs in prisons as well as a bipartisan proposal to help ex-inmates stay out of prison.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Prisons
Mar. 03, 2017  Women in Prison
Jan. 10, 2014  Sentencing Reform
Sep. 14, 2012  Solitary Confinement
Mar. 11, 2011  Downsizing Prisons
Dec. 04, 2009  Prisoner Reentry
Apr. 06, 2007  Prison Reform
Jan. 05, 2007  Prison Health Care
Sep. 17, 1999  Prison-Building Boom
Feb. 04, 1994  Prison Overcrowding
Oct. 20, 1989  Crime and Punishment: a Tenuous Link
Aug. 04, 1989  Can Prisons Rehabilitate Criminals?
Aug. 07, 1987  Prison Crowding
Nov. 25, 1983  Prison Overcrowding
Feb. 26, 1982  Religious Groups and Prison Reform
Jun. 18, 1976  Criminal Release System
Mar. 12, 1976  Reappraisal of Prison Policy
Oct. 20, 1971  Racial Tensions in Prisons
Oct. 13, 1965  Rehabilitation of Prisoners
Oct. 09, 1957  Prisons and Parole
May 02, 1952  Penal Reform
Jan. 30, 1937  The Future of Prison Industry
May 08, 1930  Prison Conditions and Penal Reform
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Sentencing and Corrections