There is a long list of reasons as to how the US prison system fails. Firstly, the prisons are so overcrowded, there are inmates literally nose to nose with each other. Having prisons as full as they do can only lead to violence as the prisoners become claustrophobic, they can't deal with the close proximity of other inmates on a daily basis. Thus, this is not helping criminals, it is a hindrance in their transition back into civilization.
* Spending Too Much Money *
It reportedly costs $35,000 annually for each inmate, and yet the first funding option they choose to cut are education and rehabilitation programs. Surely, it would make sense to invest in these types of programs, rather than having three out of every four inmates returning six to twelve months after their release. The answer is not to keep building more prisons to house criminals, it is to aid prisoners in the road to becoming good citizens, who can lead a better life. The prison system fails through lack of training, education, and social aspects that are required for prisoners to be at one with society again.
* High Number of Prisoners *
The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Changes in sentencing and time served for certain crimes has also added to the increased number of prisoners. The US prison system has a devastating affect on the economy, and drains taxes of civilians through all the costs involved in the staffing and running of the prisons. It should also be taken into consideration that a lot of mentally ill people who should not be in prison are there when they should be in a special institute instead.
* How The Money Is Used *
Money, and how it is used is a big factor on how the prison system fails. A large amount of funds are wasted each year by using funds for unnecessary causes. The funds should be invested in properly trained staff, such as, better psychologist for inmates and their families, higher security personnel for areas that need it, but lower for less violent crimes. Teachers and trainers should be better qualified, then inmates may have some chance of being educated enough to hold down a job without getting imprisoned again. Medical facilities and treatments should be improved, preventing some medical problems that could be avoided, then less would have to be spent on treatments for certain illnesses.
* The After Effects *
Prisons should be working to keep inmates out when they are released, not putting them on the street, and hoping for the best. Education programs should be mandatory, money should be better spent, overcrowding should be avoided, and health issues should be kept to a minimum. This would solve the biggest problem affecting the US prison system, and the US citizens.