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Ever since President Richard Nixon declared “war on drugs” in the United States, prison populations across the country began to swell. While America makes up about 5 percent of the world population, we house more inmates per capita than any other country. In fact, the United states has over 2 million citizens in prison, that is roughly 750 prisoners per 100,000 people. China which has over a billion people living within its border, only has 1,548,498 prisoners, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of America’s staggering prison population is the fact that over half of all inmates are behind bars for nonviolent drug offenses. When you add to that the fact that most prisons and jails are not equipped to house the number of prisoners that the state deems need be behind bars, it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

If you have been following the news recently, you are likely aware of the fact both prisoners and guards are on strike across the country—protesting the fact that prisoners are living in unsuitable environments and guards in Alabama are scared to be in a work zone that could erupt in violence at the drop of a hat, VICE News reports. The concerns include:

  • Overcrowding
  • Understaffing
  • Squalid Conditions
  • Low Pay
  • Dangerous Work Environment

The severity of prison overcrowding in America has many state lawmakers looking for solutions, and in California the answer may be early parole. This November, California voters are being asked to decide on Proposition 57, which would allow certain prisoners to seek parole earlier, The Mercury News reports. In 2011, a California prison population cap was imposed after a panel of federal judges determined that the overcrowding in prisons led to inadequate health care services.

“Californians clearly understand that it makes sense to give people incentives to turn their lives around so we can focus our law enforcement resources on dangerous criminals and avoid the potential of an arbitrary court-ordered release of prisoners,” said Dan Newman, a Yes on 57 spokesman. 

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California. Based out of Orange County, Attorney Brower has represented individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower online or by telephone at 714-997-4400.

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