Examining The Rapidly Increasing Prison Population Criminology Essay

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With a rapidly increasing prison population, the government of the United States has facing with chronic overcrowding of prisons and jails. The expense for building prisons and jails, paying salary for officials as well as supporting to prisoners has become an encumbrance to the United States. Moreover, some offenders committed misdemeanors or they broke law accidentally. Incarceration punishment is too strict for them. With the above mentioned reasons, criminal justice planners and policy makers in the United States had many researches to find out the solutions to overcome knotty problems about overcrowded prisons, financial burdens and appropriate penalties. Community correction was considered as an effective solution which is an alternative to traditional incarceration. From at that time, community correction has become successful and it has proved their importance in correction system and criminal justice system

Current situation of prison population in the United States

Overcrowded prison

In recent year, prison populations in the United State have increasing, according to BJS. The total of states and federal prisons in 1980 was 329,812 prisoners, this number has increasing regularly year by year, in 1995, and the number of inmates was 1,078,542. This number rose to 1,613, 740 prisoners in 2009. After 30 years period, prison populations dramatically rose from 329,812 to 1,613,740 inmates and it led to overcrowding in prisons.

Figure- 1: Incarceration rate in state and federal prisons in the U.S 1925 to 2009

Development of correction population, compare probation, Jail, Prison and Parole between 1989 and 2009

Correctional systems in the United States such as probations, paroles, jails and prisons have become overcrowded since 1980s. The number of inmates was almost double in 20 years period, from 1989 to 2009. Probationers were 2,522,125 in 1989, and they rose about 4,203,967 in 2009. Inmates who were in jails were 393,303 in 1989 and they were 760,400 in 2009. The number of prisoners and parolees also rose from 683,367 to 1,524,513 prisoners in 2009 and from 456,803 to 819,803 parolees in 2009.

Figure- 2: Sharp Increase in Correctional Populations

Proportion in correctional population in the U.S in 2009

In the recent years, programs of community corrections attracted much attention of offenders. The number of offenders who is on community correction programs is increasing. Therefore, the percentage of probationers was 59% in 2009. Prisoners accounted about 22% and followed by parole and jail were 11,11% and 10,10% respectively.

Proportions in Correctional Populations

In the United States in 2009

Figure- 3: Proportions in Correctional Populations in the United States in 2009

Types of corrections today in the U.S

The prison system and community corrections systems in the United States are used to incarcerate or enforce court punishments for people who have broken laws. Correction can be divided into two main elements. They are community-based programs and secure confinement. Community-based programs include probations, paroles and intermediate sanctions. Secure confinement involves jails, prisons and retrial detentions.

Comparison the cost of prison incarceration and community supervision

Cost is an important factor which helps community corrections become successful in the United States, in the recent period. For example: we compare the daily cost between prison incarceration and community supervision in North Carolina from 2006 to 2010, there are a huge disparity in cost between them. The daily cost of community supervision is about one fourteen of the cost of prison incarceration. In 2006, the daily cost of prison incarceration was about 68 dollar and about 2 dollar for community supervision. In 2010, the daily cost of prison incarceration and community supervision were about 74 dollar and about 4 dollar respectively. The daily cost of them slightly increased from 2006 to 2010 with the same shape.

Community correction programs in the United States

Community correction system in the U.S

Community corrections have become an important component in correction in the United States. They are viewed as alternatives to incarceration for offenders. It also has other purposes such as solving overcrowded prisons, reducing the cost for offenders, giving an opportunity to offender to reentry in community while serving their sentences. For victims, they can receive restitutions from offenders and community has the change to supervise and help offenders in order to reduce the recidivism rate.

Types of community corrections in the U.S

There are varieties of community corrections programs in the United States. They include probation, parole and an array of intermediate sanctions.


Probation is the most popular in community correction programs. Offenders can serve their sentence in community instead of incarceration after they promise to adhere to a set of rules or conditions which are required by the court. They are supervised by the probation department. Probation can be revoked if probationers violated rules and break conditions. The period of probation sentences is decided by the court and it depends on the seriousness of the offense and the statutory law of the jurisdiction.


Parole can be understood as the planned release and community supervision of incarceration offenders. Parole sentence often give offenders while they do not finish their sentence. State parole board has the right that whether grants parole to offenders. Parolees must obey the specific parole rules that are made by the board. Once parolees are released in the community, they are supervised by a trained staff of parole officers. Parole officers have to find jobs for parolees and they oversee behaviors and activities of parolees. Parolees must engage to strictly comply with rules that guile their behavior and set limits on their activities. They can be returned to incarceration at any time, if they break the rules.


Fine is a monetary punishment that imposes on offenders as an accountability for their criminal activities. Fine punishment commonly is applied for misdemeanors and sometime used for financial felonies. Fine may be used by two ways: it can be seen as a sole penalties or it can be combined with other punishments.


Forfeiture is a punishment that government use it to confiscate property which obtained or earned through illegal activity. Forfeiture can be performed either civil or criminal law. Civil forfeiture can be imposed on offenders when can demonstrate evidences of guilty. Criminal forfeiture can be applied after a conviction. The purpose of forfeiture is to ensure offenders cannot hide and keep any illegal property which they used to serve for their criminal activities. Forfeiture is usually an add-on punishment which is applied to combine with another sentence.


Restitution is a popular intermediate sanction. This punishment requests convicted defendants to restitute for the victims by monetary restitution and serve the community by community service restitution. The purpose of restitution is to bring benefits to victims, offenders, the criminal justice system and society as a whole.

Home confinement/house arrest/home detention

Home confinement is an alternative to an incarceration sentence. Its concept requires offenders must stay at their own home. There are two agencies that monitor convicted offenders: probation department and surveillance officers. The offenders can be checked ten or more time a month or a few curfew checks.

Electronic monitoring

Electronic monitoring can be seen an effective method to support to house arrest punishment. Offenders are worn devices on their ankles, wrists or necks and these devices will send signals back to control officers. It is also considered as the most important developments because it provides low cost and high security.

Halfway house/work release center

Halfway house is a place which incarcerates offenders who are required to study, to work, to join in specific programs. This place is to help offenders to reintegrate into society after they serve their sentence in jail or prison and they can receive supports such as jobs, mental health services and a stable living situation.

Correction in the Vietnam

Correction in Vietnam

Correction system in Vietnam

Crime rate

Incarceration rate

Community correction in Vietnam

Eligibility standard for offenders to community corrections in Vietnam

Types of community corrections in Vietnam




Non-custodial reform

Reformatory school

Human Dignity Rehabilitation Center