Prison System (part 2)

Annett Tamayo, Staff Writer

   In my previous article i discussed Mass Incarceration, rehabilitation programs, punishments and pointing out the massive amounts of non violent offenders who are incarcerated. This article will be expanding on the problem of mass incarceration.

Where are inmates placed ?: There are 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 901 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 76 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers. The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in these prisons, facilities, and jails.(prison policy initiative)

Did you know that 1 out of 5 incarcerated people are locked up for a drug offense. 

There are over 1 million drug possession arrests each year.(prison policy) In federal prisons there are around 94,000 incarcerated for drug and public order offenses. There are approximately 379,500 inmates in state prisons for public order and drug offenses.Many of these inmates have substance abuse issues, and the U.S incarcerates them.

Incarcerated youth :

Too many youth are incarcerated. There is approximately 70,792 Juvenile’s incarcerated. Almost 15,000 children behind bars are there for “technical violations” of their probation or parole (failing to report to a meeting, lack of attendance….). More than 3,000 children are behind bars for “status offenses” which are behaviors that are not law violations for adults like truancy, and running away…(etc).Lastly there are about 5,000 of them incarcerated for possession of drugs (prison policy)


The rates are high when it comes to drugs and incarceration but , Is locking someone up for 1 to 2 years or (even more depending on the circumstances) actually helping the person suffering from substance abuse ?

Incarceration vs rehabilitation.

Well, as much as it is harming inmates that have a substance abuse issue, it is harming the economy as well because incarcerating a drug offense alone can cost $20,000 to $50,000 a year. Furthermore, the outcomes are not always great. When you incarcerate someone, they do receive help but the help is not always effective due to the massive amount of prisoners. It is impossible to give each and every inmate the adequate help that they need. Rehabilitation programs for non violent offenders can help them re-enter society as a sane, sober, and a more responsible person. Rehabilitation programs are cheaper and they range from $1,800 to $7,000, they also reduce the chances of going back to prison.

How do you feel about our packed prisons ?