Overcrowding in U.S. prisons starts with education


The debate on the use of incarceration in the US has unfortunately bounced between two extreme poles of a “lock them all up” mentality versus a “criminal justice reform” agenda that in its extreme, pushes the elimination of all prisons.

But the goals of maintaining public safety (and the associated goal of fairness to victims) and reducing the negative effects of incarceration on individuals (the vast majority of whom will be released back into our communities), their families and their communities are not mutually exclusive.

Creative Corrections, with its extensive history of experts with decades of experience sees a four-prong approach to both reducing the costs of incarceration (to taxpayers as well as those incarcerated), the negative effects of prison crowding, and the societal impacts of elevated levels of incarceration while also preserving the safety of law-abiding citizens.

It is commendable that Creative Corrections LLC is working towards improving the prison system through rigorous audits and a commitment to quality staff.

Overcrowding in prisons is indeed a significant issue and addressing it could have a positive impact on other challenges within the system.


First, invest in the next generation to reduce the future prison populations. This is the foundation piece on Cost of Incarceration Fee (COIF).

Second, use proven risk assessment models to ensure that those offenders who present significant threat to public safety is incarcerated (for the appropriate period of time and under the appropriate conditions) and those offenders who present lower risks are be placed in alternatives to incarceration through drug courts, community-based programming, the use of smart technologies and other alternatives that support both accountability and offender success in the community.

Third, used need-driven models to ensure that offenders receive needed programming and treatment (especially drug and mental health treatment) either in prison or in the community based on their risk assessment.

Fourth, provide safe, humane, and professionally run prisons that provide an acceptable environment for both the offenders incarcerated there as well as the staff who work there.

Alternatives to Incarceration: Considering alternatives to incarceration is crucial. While imprisonment serves as a necessary consequence for certain crimes, we should explore more effective ways to rehabilitate offenders and prevent recidivism.

Breaking the cycle

Some alternatives include: Community-Based Programs: Diverting non-violent offenders to community-based programs can be more cost-effective and beneficial. These programs may involve counseling, restorative justice, or community service.

Restorative Justice: Focusing on repairing harm caused by criminal behavior rather than punitive measures. It involves dialogue between victims, offenders, and the community to find solutions.

Drug Courts: Specialized courts that address substance abuse issues by combining treatment with judicial oversight.

Electronic Monitoring: Using ankle bracelets or other technology to monitor offenders while allowing them to remain in their communities.

Probation and Parole: Supervised release with conditions can be an effective alternative to incarceration.

Repealing the 1994 Crime Bill: The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act had significant impacts on incarceration rates. While it aimed to reduce crime, some argue that it led to mass incarceration. Repealing or amending certain provisions could be beneficial. A more-balanced approach that considers rehabilitation, mental health, and social factors is essential.

Pitzer Family Education Foundation (PFEF): Kudos to Creative Corrections for supporting PFEF!

Their focus on preventing recidivism through job training, placement, and scholarships for children of incarcerated parents is commendable.

Education can break the cycle of incarceration and empower individuals to lead productive lives.

Percy Pitzer is the founder and general manager of Pitzer Family Education Foundation (PFEF).


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