Morgan S. Montana

When Jails Fail

Prison laws and management, and crime rates are an issue because I believe that our judicial laws need to change. The laws need to be more strict, and the punishment should fit the crime. Overcrowding in prisons is also a big problem, and if the laws change maybe we would find our solution.

October 19, 2016

Dear next President

I would like to share with you an issue that concerns me: prison laws. I understand that prisons are becoming overcrowded and so therefore we are freeing the less dangerous to make more room. But, how is that fair? Prisoners are put in jail for a set time due to the crime they’ve committed, so why do some get off easy? Eventually, the prisons will only be filled with the most dangerous prisoners, so what do we do once those spots fill up? I think that the rules in prison are not strict enough, and that we need to have less freedom in jails. Prison should not be as leisure or entertaining, there needs to be more punishment.

I think that us citizens have it too easy here in the United States, we give people a ‘slap on the hand’ or a fine to pay when they do something bad, and prisons are more like a home than a jail cell. Prisoners eat 3 meals a day, time outside for fresh air, receive phone calls and visitors, exercise and walk around inside the building, rather than having it more of a ‘contained’ environment. Most prisoners have a fairly nice life. Prison is not as violent as the media makes you think. I thought the purpose of a jail was to punish the prisoners for the wrong they committed and have them think about it every single minute while they’re in prison. How can they do that when they get free time, plenty of meals, a bed with a roof over their head, and peers around them to socialize with? The jails need to be more strict- maybe less free time and only 2 meals a day. If you think about homeless people on the streets, they may only get to eat one meal a day and they haven’t committed a crime.

The big issue is prisons are overcrowding, and crimes continue to happen. According to the government study on overpopulation, “Federal prisons were 39% over capacity as of September 2011. Further, the report predicted that overcrowding would climb to more than 45% above the BOP’s (Bureau of Prisons) maximum capacity by 2018. The GAO (Government Accountability Office) warned that prisons may experience rising rates of violence among prisoners and growing levels of stress among prison staff because overcrowding contributes to increased inmate misconduct, which negatively affects the safety and security of inmates and staff.” (“Prison”, 4-5). How can we lower the crime rate? Build more prisons? Lighten the sentencing for federal crimes? That will only take more taxpayer money, and will it lower the crime rate? What about the public safety? I think that the judicial laws need to change in a way that will make people think before they act. The punishments need to be more strict and taken more seriously in order to get our point across that crime is not okay. The punishment should fit the crime. In a third world country, if you stole something you would get your hand chopped off. We need to find a solution halfway that will change the laws for the better.

I think it’s only equally right that criminals get punished for their actions. If a person murders someone by shooting or stabbing them to death, then that person should be shot or stabbed to experience the other side of it, with reference to the Code of Hammurabi (“Hammurabi’s Code”, 7-8). If a driver kills a pedestrian due to driving drunk, then they themselves were in the wrong, knowing the law. The punishment should fit the crime. Obviously, in certain cases, if the incident were an accident, then the jury would make those decisions to determine the outcome. If the prisoner doesn’t want their actions to happen to them, then maybe they’d think twice before making a bad decision and paying for it.

Thank you for listening to what I had to say.


     Morgan S.

     Billings, Montana

"Hammurabi's Code: An Eye for an Eye." Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.

"Prison Legal News." Report: Increase in Federal Prison Population, Overcrowding. Ed. Loaded on May 19, 2014 by Derek Gilna Published in Prison Legal News May, 2014, Page 48 Filed Under: Statistics/Trends, Overcrowding. Location: United States of America. Prison Legal News, 19 May 2014. Web. 02 Nov. 2016.

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