skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 64695 Find in a Library
Title: PRISONIA - AMERICA'S GROWING MEGALOPOLIS
Journal: QUARTERLY  Volume:36  Issue:3  Dated:(AUTUMN 1979)  Pages:47-54
Author(s): W G NAGEL
Corporate Author: Pennsylvania Assoc on Probation, Parole & Correction
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Pennsylvania Assoc on Probation, Parole & Correction
Camp Hill, PA 17011
Type: Statistics
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: AMERICA'S GROWING PRISON POPULATION, REASONS FOR ITS INCREASE, AND WAYS TO REDUCE NUMBERS OF PRISONERS ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: IF ALL OF AMERICA'S PRISON AND JAIL INMATES WERE INCORPORATED INTO A CITY ('PRISONIA'), IT WOULD BE A MEGALOPOLIS RANKING BEHIND ST. LOUIS AND JUST AHEAD OF DENVER. IT WOULD BE LARGER IN POPULATION THAN 21 OF THE UNITED NATION'S CURRENT MEMBER NATIONS. IN PRISONERS PER 100,000 POPULATION, THE UNITED STATES IS SURPASSED ONLY BY THE SOVIET UNION AND SOUTH AFRICA, AND SOME OF THE STATE'S IMPRISONMENT RATES EXCEED EVEN THOSE COUNTRIES'. FURTHER PRISON GROWTH CAN BE EXPECTED, LARGELY DUE TO PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF INCREASING CRIME, PUBLIC POLICY SHIFTS TOWARD DETERMINATE AND/OR MANDATORY SENTENCES, AND PLANS IN MANY JURISDICTIONS TO BUILD NEW AND EXPAND OLD PRISONS AND JAILS. ALTHOUGH VICTIMIZATION STUDIES FAIL TO SUPPORT PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF INCREASING CRIME, OFFICIAL STATISTICS DO FEED THAT PERCEPTION, AND THE PREDOMINANT PUBLIC REACTION TO PERCEIVED CRIME INCREASES IS A DEMAND FOR MORE AND LONGER PRISON SENTENCES. IN STATES WHERE DETERMINATE AND/OR MANDATORY SENTENCING HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED, PRISON SENTENCES HAVE TENDED TO BE LONGER, THUS INCREASING THE PRISON POPULATION EVEN THOUGH THE NUMBER OF ADMISSIONS MAY NOT HAVE INCREASED. STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT, IN STATES WHERE PRISON CAPACITIES HAVE BEEN ENLARGED, PRISON SENTENCES HAVE INCREASED TO FILL THE NEW CELLS. IN JURISDICTIONS WHERE THE INCREASE IN PRISON CAPACITY HAS BEEN LIMITED, PRISON POPULATIONS HAVE STABILIZED OR DECREASED. THE USE OF PRISON FOR VENGEANCE OR THE INCREASED INCAPACITATION OF OFFENDERS HAS NOT BEEN SHOWN TO DECREASE CRIME, AND MANY STUDIES HAVE DOCUMENTED THE CRIMINALIZING ASPECTS OF IMPRISONMENT. IF THE PRISON POPULATION IS TO BE REDUCED, GREATER EFFORTS MUST BE MADE TO DEVELOP ALTERNATIVES. THE SUCCESS OF SUCH EFFORTS CAN BE SHOWN IN SUCH NATIONS AS SWITZERLAND AND THE NETHERLANDS AND IN STATES SUCH AS PENNSYLVANIA.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Comparative analysis; Determinate Sentencing; Incarceration; Inmate statistics; Mandatory Sentencing; Netherlands; Pennsylvania; Prison construction; Switzerland; United States of America
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. PRESENTED AT A SEMINAR FOR LEGISLATORS ON ALTERNATIVES TO NEW PRISON CONSTRUCTION, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, WASHINGTON, DC, SEPTEMBER 18, 1979
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64695

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.