The California jail system is now operating at more than double its allotted capacity. How do jails handle such overcrowding? They increase the number of beds. When the population grows, single cells multiply into doubles, doubles multiply into triples, and so on, with new improvised beds welded into the walls.
Jails also use social segregation to reduce tension and facilitate management. For example, inmates may be separated by race or according to their crime rate. This prevents conflict between groups and helps guards manage the facility. In addition, prisons often have separate facilities for pre-trial detainees or inmates undergoing medical treatment.
Overcrowding has become a major problem in U.S. prisons. The United States holds about 5 million people in prison, which is approximately 7 percent of its estimated population. This is the highest percentage of any country in the world. Also, the United States has the largest per capita prison population in the world.
There are two main approaches to handling overcrowding: increase the size of the prison system and decrease the length of time individuals remain in prison.
As part of its effort to reduce overcrowding, the California prison system has increased the size of several facilities and built others from scratch. These include more medium security facilities and fewer maximum security beds. The goal is for each cell to hold one inmate who has not been classified as a threat to public safety.
For others, prison overcrowding may appear to be a benefit. They may believe that this indicates that the judicial system is functioning well and that offenders have been removed from the streets. Overpopulation, on the other hand, is a very other story. After the Supreme Court declared that overcrowding in prisons was "cruel and unusual punishment," California was forced to lower its jail population. The same thing would happen in almost every state in the country if they did not do something about their prison systems.
There are two schools of thought regarding the value of having many people in prison. One viewpoint is that prison helps society by removing dangerous people from its midst. Some people feel that all criminals should go straight into prison because only there can they learn how to live peacefully with others. When they come out, they will probably be better persons than when they went in.
Another view is that prison is wrong because it takes away from the community that wants these people back and makes living in a world full of crime easier. People who commit violent acts should not be allowed out early because it gives them time to plan more crimes.
Most countries have too few prisons so they use jails instead. This means that those who cannot pay their way out of jail are held there until they raise the money required for their release. Jail populations tend to include many poor people and people of color. This is because they can't afford bail required by law in some states or don't have the resources to find an attorney who can help them get it reduced.
Overcrowding in prisons can result in unsanitary, violent situations that are damaging to prisoners' physical and emotional well-being (UNODC, 2013). They face higher risk of aggression from the inmates, the risk of infection, and increased stress and mental health difficulties. Crowding also affects the ability of guards to provide security in the facilities.
All together, prison overcrowding has been shown to have a negative impact on inmate health and safety. In addition to this, overcrowded conditions are known to increase the risk of transmission of infectious diseases within prisons.
Prison systems around the world are facing an increasing number of inmates due to changes in sentencing policies and failure of governments to build more prisons. This has resulted in a shortage of space for inmates in many countries with large populations of incarcerated people. Overcrowding has many negative effects on inmates; some of them are discussed below.
High rates of Infant Mortality: Studies have shown that infant mortality is high among prisoners compared with the general population. For example, one study conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice found that infants of female inmates were 1.5 times more likely than infants of similar women outside of prison to die before their first birthday. The study also showed that young children of male inmates were 1.6 times more likely than children of similar men outside of prison to die before reaching age five.