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Strategy to Alleviate Overcrowding in Pennsylvania's Prisons and Jails

NCJ Number
Date Published
47 pages
An examination of prison overcrowding in Pennsylvania found that State prisons are 33-percent overcapacity and proposed nine approaches to relieving overcrowding.
The study was conducted by a task force composed of criminal justice practitioners, judges, members of the State administration, legislators, and academics. Data from 1979-84 and efforts to deal with the program were examined. Despite the widely accepted standard of single celling, 5,580 inmates were double-celled as of November 1984. Prison additions currently under construction were found to be inadequate for dealing with population increases. County jails were transferring inmates to other facilities and putting four or five inmates in a cell to deal with crowded conditions. Recommended changes included a system of earned time credits for State inmates, a program of intensive parole supervision, and the establishment of a 500-bed correctional facility for the southeastern part of the State. Also recommended were temporary expansion through the use of prefabricated mobile units, a system of pretrial mechanisms to reduce the county jail detention population, and a technical assistance program to help jails reduce their populations. Further recommendations were a State subsidy to help county jails deal with drunk driving offenders, a fiscal and programmatic impact analysis of proposed legislation, and an ongoing mechanism to oversee, monitor, and evaluate initiatives to alleviate overcrowding. A table, figures, and appendixes presenting additional data and a list of task force members are included.