Pennsylvania Civil Rights Lawyer: Prison Overcrowding Comes Full Circle
Sometimes, we expend a lot of time and money and academic resources, only to arrive at a very obvious conclusion. A new study (link: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141328) explored whether there was any connection between incarceration in an overcrowded prison and an increased risk of recidivism. Hardly surprising, the study concluded there was. And the reasons why are, unfortunately, predictable. Overcrowded prisons subject inmates to psychological stress and poor mental health and addiction treatment, issues that have been the subject of advocacy efforts against mass incarceration for a long time. Moreover, the study provides another arrow in the quiver against the increasingly ill-advised, inexplicably ongoing war on drugs, in finding that there was an especially high rate of subsequent drug charges after incarceration in an overcrowded prison. While the societal harm from mass incarceration has been clear for a long time, it is increasingly difficult for prisons, police, and policymakers to deny their role in this harm.
By Christopher Markos