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I live in UK and watch US tv programs on crime etc. It seems in USA you can get jailed for even small offences and long sentences are handed out regularly. In UK its much easier to escape jail by telling a sad story to the judge!
artymike8 artymike8 41-45, M 12 Answers Apr 23 in Community

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Many communities in the US suffer from critical overcrowding of the jail and prison populations. It's the effect of a "tough on crime" stance and an unwillingness to invest more in facilities. For instance, three strikes laws. These types of laws combine with mandatory sentencing laws to result in life sentences for questionable offenses. Additionally, the War on Drugs complicated matters by channelling many people into prison who would have otherwise been ignored or sent for medical treatment. Add in the severe social stigma against ex-convicts and they are more likely to end up incarcerated again, compounding the problem enormously.

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I heard 80% of people in prisons actually belong in mental wards.

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I'm not sure if that is the exact number, but it is likely correct that a significant number of the incarcerated actually require different methods and/or treatment. I visited several state institutions (academically) in Pennsylvania, and even got to interview prisoners. It's safe to say that a lot of them are just getting worse in there. Some know exactly why they are in and accept responsibility for their actions, and others couldn't tell you what color the sky is. A career criminal told me that the prison system used to be safer before they started locking up the unstable, who tend to become more unstable during long term sentences. It was still dangerous and violent, but less so. One of the unstable inmates was under 24 hour surveillance and often forced to take his meds. If he ever failed to take them, he became uncontrollable without extreme force. Once this person is up for parole and released, it is almost certain he'll end up back in prison until he is issued a life sentence. I don't know how to fix it, but the system is definitely broken.

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Its the same situation in most countries.

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That explains a lot about the UK....They even call soccer...Football !!!

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Some are big some are tiny. In some correctional facilities they just put bunk beds in the gymnasium and house hundreds of inmates. The problem is they aren't really making correctional facilities or prisons often enough.

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Too many, too large, and still overpopulated.

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Some US prisons are huge, some are small. Depends on the state.

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We ship them off to a country far far away....oh wait that was England who did that. lol

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And we sent them straight off to Australia! ;-)

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Building newer ones and bigger ones all the time - and it is insane.

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pretty big depending on where you go to

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It depends.

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They're not huge at all. Prisoners are on bunks stacked 3 high in unused gymnasiums. California recently paroled a ton of non-violent offenders early just to make space.

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We tell sad stories to the jury, that is where we screw up......

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