The Challenges arising from the High number of Inmates in California

TheChallenges arising from the High number of Inmates in California

California has seen a high number of inmates in the prison system inthe recent years. The result of the increased incarceration hascaused dire consequences where the overcrowding has reduced theliving conditions in the prisons. The increased incarceration startedwhen the government decided to implement legislations such as the Waron Drugs and the Three Strikes that have caused the increase in thenumber of inmates. For instance, most of the men arrested are thesole breadwinners in their families, and that has led to the familiesbeing separated and living in some poor conditions where they have tostruggle to make ends meet. On the other hand, the average taxpayersare incurring huge amounts of funds that are placed on the prisonsystem. More importantly, this paper illustrates how the increasedincarceration causes overcrowding in the prisons, separation of thefamilies while the average taxpayers have to incur the costs ofrunning the prisons.

The high number of inmates was caused by a number of legislationssuch as the War on Drugs and the Three Strikes that have increasedthe incarceration rate. Before the legislations were implemented, thenumber of the inmates was much lower, and the Federal government inCalifornia did not have a problem running the prison system. However,some of the legislations such as the War on Drugs have encouraged thegovernment to arrest people accused of engaging in the drug trade(Cullen et al., 2011).The Three Strikes, on the other hand, clarified that anyone arrestedfor three sentences should face life imprisonment. The legislationshave caused the Californian prisons to have more inmates than it usedto have. In the process, even the courts have been forced to adhereto such legislations and send people into the prisons yet, thegovernment has other initiatives such as rehabilitation that areperfect for the drug addicts. The proper utilization of suchinstitutions might also be beneficial to the inmates since it offersthe medical and psychological support needed.

The increased incarceration in California has led to the overcrowdingin the prisons since the inmates have to share the facilities thatare created to accommodate a much lower capacity. In this case, mostof the prisons are established to carry a certain capacity of inmatesthat the current population has surpassed. The increased number ofinmates in the Californian prisons means that the prisons will striveto support the huge number of people, and that is a problem. Forinstance, the huge number of inmates has also led to the poor livingconditions since they have to sleep in the few available beds, andthey might find it hard to access enough food as well as the medicalservices (Wildeman, 2014).The crowded prisons will also support illegal activities such as themovement of the contrabands that undermine the security of theinmates. The staff will be unable to serve the inmates, and theprison management might even need to increase the number of theemployees, which might be a problem to the Federal government aswell. Evidently, the high number of the inmates is a problem thatalso needs to be addressed urgently since the officers are unable tosupervise the inmates appropriately.

The increased incarceration is also the reason behind the separatedfamilies and suffering that the mothers and the children areundergoing. For instance, most of the men arrested are thebreadwinners in their families, and that means that they will nolonger have someone to support them (Martin,2011). The absence of the fathers might lead to the mothersseeking other inappropriate ways to make money such as prostitution.On the other hand, the children that were used to a better life andprestigious schools will have to reduce their standards andexpectations by settling for public schools and cheaper houses too(Martin, 2011). Thesame children might grow up without the fatherly love, an aspect thatmight be devastating for their growth and maturity. In most cases,the presence of a father-figure in a child’s life is oftennecessary since they will advise them on what to do and the effectiveprocedures that they should use in implementing any decisionsinstead. Evidently, the change will alter their lifestyle and allthat might be avoided if the government reduces the rate of theincarceration and create initiatives that will help the members ofthe society.

At the same time, the increased incarceration has led to the Federalgovernment spending more funds that come from the average taxpayers.The running of the prison system relies on the taxpayers’ fundsthat provide the basic needs that help the inmates in their dailylives. The inmates need the food, the medical services as well as therecreational facilities that will support their lives while they arein prison instead. If the inmates increase, then the Federalgovernment will be forced to spend more funds from the averagetaxpayers to run the prisons (Wildeman,2014). In the process, the same government might even increasethe taxes to support the number of the inmates that isever-increasing. Other sectors such as education and healthcare mightend up suffering since they will get a reduced amount of fundsinstead. In fact, various protests have shown that the Federal budgetsets aside about $9000 for a student while $47000 goes to an inmate.The amount shows that incarceration has ended up being expensive thaneducation, an aspect that is shocking. The spending also illustratesthat the government is implementing some misplaced priorities sincethe same education might also help in reducing crime. Evidently, theaverage taxpayers end up suffering because the government had createdlegislations that have increased the number of inmates in the prisonsystem. All in all, a reduction of the inmates will somehow reducethe burden that the average taxpayers have to carry.

In conclusion, the families are being separated, the overcrowding inthe prisons as well as the burden on the average taxpayers illustratethe problems arising from the increased incarceration in California.It is evident that the consequences are all because of the War onDrugs and the Three Strikes that have increased the number ofinmates. First, the overcrowding is a problem, and it has led to thedecline of the living conditions in the prisons where the inmates arestaying. In fact, the large number means that the prison will haveproblems catering for each of their problems. Even the families mightend up suffering because their breadwinners have to serve the longsentences instead of being at home supporting their children andwives too. The issue also causes more problems to the averagetaxpayers that have to pay more funds that will support the inmates.With these problems being on the rise, there is the need for theFederal government to make prompt measures that will correct thechallenges. In this case, the community correction is a viablesolution that will help the prisoners benefit from the shorter termsand rehabilitation. The community correction will be an alternativeto the increased incarceration that has caused the families to beseparated and the average taxpayers spending more funds. However,community correction is even a cheaper approach that will also allowthe offenders to keep their jobs as they are serving their time.


Cullen, F. T., Jonson, C. L.,&amp Nagin, D. S. (2011). Prisons do not reduce recidivism the highcost of ignoring science. ThePrison Journal,91(3suppl), 48S-65S.

Martin, L. L. (2011). Debt tosociety: Asset poverty and prisoner reentry. TheReview of Black Political Economy,38(2),131-143.

Wildeman, C. (2014). Parentalincarceration, child homelessness, and the invisible consequences ofmass imprisonment. TheANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,651(1),74-96.