More funds are needed for prisons


Amanda Beene

Many people protest that the money being spent on prisons is outrageous and unnecessary, but budgeting money for prisons is very important and crucial to the safety of the public, community and inmates.

Prisoners are already subject to terrible living conditions but they have become overpopulated and dangerous for the inmates. Many incarcerated people are diagnosed with disease from being in an overcrowded prison. The U.S. prison population is at a record high and such diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis and AIDS potentially fatal, according to Naomi Spencer’s article on World Socialist website.

Prisoners also often face violence, both physical and sexual, from other inmates and brutality by guards. Overcrowding has made matters worse as those inmates not classified as violent offenders are jammed in with some of the most dangerous people in society.

There is debate about what sort of crimes afford someone actual time in prison, but there can be little doubt someone who simply sold marijuana or fibbed on their taxes shouldn’t be mixed with killers, rapists and the worst of society. If prisons had the funds they needed, there could be separate wings dedicated for different levels of offense.

Proper funding will provide larger facilities which would be safer for inmates and the guards, but it would also allow prisons to keep more inmates in jail. In California, we are releasing thousands of prisoners for lack of funds and space and the potential for crime on our streets rises each time another convict gets out prematurely.

Yes, funding so much money for prisons might seem outrageous when it could be used for other causes such as education or health care, but look at how the funding can help the inmates, guards, and the better protection of all society. This will help keep criminals off the street and away from our communities.

As difficult as it is to hear about violence in prison, there are some people who believe inmates deserve the punishment they are given because they broke the law. But how would you feel if this were to be a family member or friend that was getting abused in jail?  Keep in mind that abuse could mean beatings, rape or even murder.  This is not the punishment administered by the state but an aftereffect of horrible prison conditions.