Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

The Creation of a National Criminal Justice Commission

The United States Congress is hoping to soon pass a law that will create a National Criminal Justice Commission. This authority will have the power to review the current federal and state justice systems, conduct research into the areas of incarceration, prison administration, the impact of gang activity, mental illness and more, then offer suggestions as to the betterment of these systems and present a comprehensive report to the public. The Commission is being hailed as a much needed entity for a Justice Department that is suffering for lack of funding, overcrowding and a severe lack of consistency.

The US Department of Justice spends around $6.8 billion dollars on the prison system alone, the most expensive component of their budget just behind the FBI. That number will only increase as President Obama has already raised the DOJ’s budget by $600 million to pay for prison renovations, the hiring of more corrections officers and the construction of new facilities for the ever growing inmate population.

Overcrowded prisons and the growing number of mentally ill inmates are also major concerns of state and federal officials. It is estimated that the United States consists of 5% of the world’s population and has around 25% of the world’s prisoners. It’s also believed that the 115 federal prisons in circulation are operating at 34% above capacity and that number is growing steadily. This means poorer living conditions for inmates and dangerous work conditions for corrections officers. The federal prison system also has a history of acting as a mental health facility for many inmates. Reports show that about 16% of all adult inmates are mentally ill and require extra care.

Also, the lack of national standards for the criminal justice department means gross inconsistencies between departments and a greater chance of error from police tactics to evidence analysis. So far, over 400 inmates have been cleared of their convictions due to recent DNA testing. Enforcing a higher standard of procedure and action from all officials could less the chance of a person being wrongfully incarcerated and having to spend many years in prison for a crime they did not commit, while the real criminal remains free.

With the criminal justice system currently struggling to operate effectively, it seems as though the creation of a National Criminal Justice Commission couldn’t come at a better time. Any suggestions by the Commission to address the problems of overcrowded prison facilities, lack of sufficient funding and lack of national standards would hopefully provide states and the federal government with a clear plan of action.

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