The United States has the incarceration rate in the world. Many prisons are facing economical crisis and it is basically being ignored by both the public and lawmakers.
The statistics show how much of a drain prisons have become to this country. According to The Hills, "The U.S. spends $11,000 annually per student in public elementary and secondary schools. Meanwhile, governments spend on average $25,000 to 30,000 per year to incarcerate someone." It is a sad day when the government spends more on incarceration than the future and children. This money could be put in better places, such as in public education.
Prisons are not lowering the crime rate. America has climbing crime rates. Rape, robbery, and aggravated assault was an estimated 1.8 million last year. Since prisons really do not rehabilitate, this means that many prisoners end up in-and-out of prison, which is known as the revolving door. While they are in prison, it is the taxpayers that pay for their housing, medical care, transportation, and every other need the prisoner has. This is a strain on an already strained economy. Some states, such as Texas and Kansas are trying to find ways to cut costs by keeping people out of prison.
According to Sunday Review, "The states have expanded community-based drug treatment programs, improved post-prison supervision and retooled parole systems that once shunted people back to jail not for actual crimes but for technical violations that are more cheaply and effectively dealt with through community-based sanctions like house arrest or mandatory drug treatment."
It seems like states and the federal government could cut costs by treating problems of the prisoners, such as mental illness or drug addiction, than just shuttling them in and out of prison. If a prisoner commits offenses because of mental illness or drug addiction, the person is going to go right back to prison if the problem is not treated. It is about time the prison system starts addressing why people go to prison, instead of just using them for free labor.