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Prison violence occurs daily and has been an increasing epidemic across many prisons around the world. In prison, people who were a danger or a menace to society are put together in a small confined area, with rules forced upon them as they are expected to get along, however these conditions lead to violent outbursts not only towards other inmates, but staff as well meaning, inmates can cause the same amount of harm they can cause outside of prison, inside. With that brings the need to reform prisons. The Howard League for Penal Reform works with other charities to help prevent violence from happening, their goal is to change the criminal justice system. Prison violence keeps rising and the Howard league for penal reform is an organization created to help.
The high rise of prison violence has caused demand for improved prisons. In “Mortality in State Prisons”, Margaret E. Noonan discusses the amount of prison violence that has been caused. The author supports her position on the subject by presenting statistics on the increase of prison violence between 2001-2014. Noonan States,” In 2014, there were 3,927 inmate deaths in … prisons.” She further proves the importance of the situation by saying “This is the largest number of inmate deaths reported in state and federal prisons since the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP) began collecting data in 2001.” Noonan specifically demonstrates that deaths on federal prisons are on the rise. In “International Journal of law on psychiatry”, Nicholas D. Thomas discusses how violence in prisons correlates with prisoner’s psychopathic behavior. The author states, “Psychological factors relating to self-regulation deficits and a proneness to conflict place an inmate at a significant risk of violence during confinement.” Thomas states here that prisoners already having aggressive tendencies are more likely to cause violence in prison. The confined environment prisons have and the engagement between inmates causes a rise in conflict. Prison violence has put many at risk and should be prioritized to make it a safer environment inside prisons.
The Howard League for Penal Reform is a national charity aiming for safer environments for prisoners. As an independent organization they campaign to change the criminal justice system specifically the conditions of prisoners. They cover a variety of prisons, whether its juvenile or women, they aim to help those imprisoned that cannot fight for themselves. They encourage the community to refrain from engaging in crime. Established in 1866 this program is the oldest penal reform charity in the world, their main goal was to create productive means for penal reform.
The Howard League for Penal Reform and center for mental health have worked together to prevent prison violence (Howard). This organization campaigns “for meaningful change in the criminal justice system”, they have actively worked for change inside prisons (Howard). One of the Howard Leagues most recent projects is the overpopulation of prisons and how it fuels violence. In a recent article describing the overpopulation of prisons states that men’s prisons are holding more inmates then they are certified to (Bulman). The Howard League analyzed that “Overcrowding means that prisoners do not have sufficient access to purposeful activity… the sheer boredom itself feeds and breeds the problems of violence…”, this reinstates the idea that overcrowding fuels violence. The Howard league states that “Prisons are rivers of crime”, the crimes that these inmates have done vary, one can never really know the extent that these prisoners are willing to go to prove they are not to be messed with. Inmates adapt to their environment and create a power complex that clashes with other dominant inmates and leads to more violence considering that the prisoners don’t know each other or what they’ve done.
The high rise of prison violence is a cause for concern and a reason to want to reform, not only are deaths increasing through the years, but the conditions that inmates are put under whether it be inactivity or surrounded by other volatile inmates influence them to act out violently against each other and staff; prisoners are not getting help from the government so that’s where The Howard League comes in. They work diligently in all aspects of prison reform, whether it be encouraging the community to not contribute to crime or informing the public of the injustice prisoners face they continue to campaign for their main cause and that is to better inmates environments and pave path for the way inmates are perceived and treated while incarcerated. As a hard to change the criminal justice system for the better.
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