War on Drugs and Prison Overcrowding Analysis
The federal and state governments in the United States of America have been taking a number of strict measures to combat the social, cultural and economic threats posed by drug use and drug trade. Evidently, one of the major measures heavily employed by the federal government as well as several states is massive imprisonment of persons found guilty of dealing with drugs (Pollock, 2011). Some local authorities, like the government of my state of California, have taken the drug war to the extreme.
Massive imprisonment is evident in the state, and it appears as if the state is relying on this initiative than any other process, yet there are several in solving the problem. Arguably, this initiative has resulted in more harm than good- overcrowding of national and state prisons is evident.
In California, jailing has become a business rather than a public service. In fact, the state spends more than 9.7 $ billion per year on correctional system, with its prisons hosting more than one out of seven of Americas prisoners (Pollock, 2011). In addition, California has the largest prison population than any other state in the US. The state has been establishing new prison facilities at a higher rate than all other states, which means that it has to hire large number of prison staff. Yet, the quality of the prison system in California has declined with time.
It is worth noting that Californias stance on the war against drugs is the principal factor that contributes to this condition. In fact, Californias drug laws and the frequency of imprisonment for people accused of dealing or using drugs are the strictest in the country. The that the prison system in the state violated the federal constitution due to cramping of prisoners in overcrowded facilities. Yet, Californian prisons do not of rehabilitating its prisoners, thus making them even hard. This is actually a cruel and inhuman form of punishment.
To solve the problem of overcrowding in Californian prisons, it is necessary for the state to consider three important initiatives as the solution. First, such as those persons found guilty of addiction to drugs should not be imprisoned, but rather they require special treatment to help them change behaviour and quit drugs (Moore & Elkavich, 2008).
They should actually be rehabilitated rather than imprisoned. Studies have shown that more than 56% of such people are more likely to recover from the behaviour and return to normal lives than those who are held in prisons (Pollock, 2011).