« Eleventh Circuit panel reverses ruling that 30-year mandatory AWA sentence for attempted sex offense is unconstitutional | Main | A helpful reminder that Americans don't know much about SCOTUS members »

June 3, 2010

"The Crunch in Federal Prisons"

The title of this post is the headline of this effective new article from The Crime Report.  The piece carries this sub-head: "More prisoners are doing federal time than ever, but Congress isn’t allocating enough funds to pay for them. Prison officials and reformers say a rethink of the system is long overdue."  And here is how the piece gets started:

While cash-strapped states are responding to the nation’s economic crisis by looking for ways to reduce their prison populations, the federal prison system is heading in the opposite direction.

Last year, the 115 federal prisons added 7,000 inmates to their rolls, making a total of 211,000 inmates in federal facilities — and the figure is expected to grow.  The number of federal criminal cases filed annually has increased from 69,575 in fiscal year 2005 to 76,655 in FY 2009.

To make matters more difficult, federal funding isn’t keeping up with the extra burden.  At a U.S. Sentencing Commission hearing in Washington, D.C. last week, U.S. Attorney for Atlanta Sally Quillian Yates said that federal facilities are currently operating at 34 per cent above capacity.  And that, she warned, will have “real and detrimental consequences for the safety of prisoners and guards, effective prisoner reentry, and ultimately, public safety.”

The White House appears to have recognized the problem.  President Barack Obama is seeking a $600 million increase in the prison system’s budget for next year.  The proposal includes filling an additional 1,200 correctional staff positions and opening three new facilities.

But the question is whether a budget-conscious Congress will go along.  The prison system already eats up $6.8 billion, making it the second-largest component of the Justice Department’s budget, just below the FBI.

June 3, 2010 at 09:13 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e2013482e6f3da970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "The Crunch in Federal Prisons":

Comments

As the Prof. noted last week, with regard to Sally Yates' testimony, the Department says it is willing to discuss doing away with some mandatory minimums that it deems not to be "serious offenses".

And if you could knock out some lengthy mandatories (even retroactively -- as some suggest) that would definately free up space in the federal hoosekow.

Problem with that, of course, is what will the Department deem "serious" under their new policy? One might think they'd have told us. One would be dead wrong.

This is partly because drug trafficking and firearms make up the vast majority of all mandatories, so much like the federal budget itself, talking about reducing spending (or prisoner population) is pointless if certain items are always off the table.

Lurking behind Yates' testimony, which is so vague as to not mean anything, is the reality that the Department, Congress, and everyone else with a hand in this mess aren't going to touch repeal of drug trafficking (with the possible exception of 18:1 crack/powder -- which STILL isn't headed to Hopey's desk, BTW) or firearms mandatories with a 10-foot pole. And nobody can expect them to deem these offenses anything more than "serious". How could they?

Much like many of President Hopey's policies (the "closing" of Guantanamo, for example), he and his administration manage to tout progressive-lite "principals" ("we're against mandatories -- just not for 'serious' offenses"), while simultaneously doing nothing. How they don't get called-out on this crap more often is beyond me.

None of this is to say I personally think the Department should support repeal of all mandatories in a post-Booker world, because they shouldn't, but looking for signs of hope in Sally Yates' testimony is like looking for a virgin in Hollywood.

Posted by: Ferris Bueller | Jun 3, 2010 10:09:46 AM

This is a great post; it was very informative. I look forward in reading more of your work. Also, I made sure to bookmark your website so I can come back later. I enjoyed every moment of reading it. internet marketing

Posted by: P90x | Sep 15, 2010 3:22:29 AM

This is a great post; it was very informative. I look forward in reading more of your work. Also, I made sure to bookmark your website so I can come back later. I enjoyed every moment of reading it. internet marketing

Posted by: thomas sabo | Nov 3, 2010 3:23:09 AM

So nice post. I will talk it with my friends.

Posted by: coach outlet store Online | May 8, 2012 9:40:21 AM

Your article is very special, I learned a lot, I will always look at your article.

Posted by: discount oakley sunglasses | Jun 19, 2012 1:36:26 AM

A little pot is soon hot.

Posted by: Tory Burch Outlet | Jul 3, 2012 2:53:00 AM

This is a really nice blog and it gives a great way to know the things which is necessary to know. Wish your more amazing posts.

Posted by: ipad 3 skin | Aug 9, 2012 2:20:21 AM

This is a really nice blog and it gives a great way to know the things which is necessary to know. Wish your more amazing posts.

Posted by: ipad 3 sleeve | Aug 9, 2012 2:20:56 AM

This is a really nice blog and it gives a great way to know the things which is necessary to know. Wish your more amazing posts.

Posted by: ipad 3 sleeve | Aug 9, 2012 2:22:19 AM

lexia 3 ... This page was last updated: 19-Aug 18:06. Number of bids and bid amounts may be slightly out of date. 100Z

Posted by: OBD1 zu OBD2 Stecker | Aug 22, 2012 10:13:55 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB