Ira P. Robbins


The conditions in America's correctional facilities have long been cause for concern. Even those who do not advocate a comfortable quality of life for inmates recognize that basic problems such as overcrowding, inmate violence, inadequate staffing, and increasing costs of building and maintaining prisons have approached crisis levels. Meanwhile, the prison population continues to swell. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the United States Department of Justice, the number of prisoners incarcerated at state and federal prisons annually has grown at a rate of 8.4% in recent years. This prison population explosion has been linked to harsher sentencing guidelines and "three strikes and you're out" provisions. According to sources at the Department of Justice, however, this prison population growth has resulted from a "'dramatic increase in the number of people arrested and admitted to the corrections system and not a growth in the length of sentences and the length of stay in prison.'" Whichever viewpoint is more accurate, America imprisons more people every day.

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