This paper will focus on the correlation between the war on drugs and the current problem of prison overcrowding, along with the social issues that accompany these two subjects. Prison overcrowding results from the direct effects of the racist war on drugs and the lack of rehabilitation available for drug offenders. .
The topic of prison overcrowding as related to the war on drugs is important to society due to the fact that it is racially biased. The war on drugs seems to target minority populations that are concentrated in inner city areas. .
Research related to the topic of prison overcrowding seems to show that a series of events has lead us to the current problem, the flooding of prisons across the country with drug offenders. The implementations of the war on drugs and the new penology, the practice of incapacitation of prisoners rather than rehabilitation, have both played major roles in the problem of prison overcrowding (Johnson, 1996).
This paper will focus on three major issues related to the topic of prison overcrowding. First, we will look at how prison overcrowding is effected by the racist war on drugs. Second, I will examine the social factors related to prison overcrowding, and third I will examine how the lack of rehabilitation has increased the problem of prison overcrowding.
History of prison overcrowding.
In 1971 there were fewer than 200,000 inmates in our state and federal prisons (Currie, 1998). By the end of 1996, we were approaching 1.2 million (Currie, 1998). The prison population, in short, has nearly sextupled in the course of twenty-five years (Currie, 1998). Current trends show a decrease in the number of violent crimes. However, the war on drugs has become the leading cause of prison overcrowding. Prison overcrowding is not a new problem, however, the fueling of the war on drugs and changes in punishment policies has led this problem to an epidemic that is growing out of control.