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Home > corrections 101 > Day 11: Overcrowding

Day 11: Overcrowding

July 21st, 2009

In my recent research I have come across an issue within the prison system that seems to be fairly prominent. Overcrowding in prisons has lead to escape attempts, attacks on staff and other prisoners, spread of disease, as well as other chaotic events.

Specifically, there was an incident that happened at Middlesex Jail in East Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 5th. The most dangerous inmates are all confined to a certain section of the prison. However, there are so many of them that some have to sleep in beds that are not surrounded by a cell; they are out in the hallway. On July 5th, ten inmates and two staff members developed flu-like symptoms that have not, at this moment, confirmed to be swine flu. Because there was a possible case of swine flu at the prison last month, prisoners became agitated at the news. Inmates smashed the ceiling pipes, which caused the sprinklers to go off, flooding the entire area. As of right now, the majority of the facility is uninhabitable and the sheriff expects the inmates to face additional criminal charges. He also said that the prison often holds double its capacity and the overcrowding definitely had something to do with the chaos that occurred.

According to, the US incarcerates more people than any other country. If you were to include those in prison, jail, and on probation it would amount to one in 32 adults in America.

Since I have been an intern here at, I have come across countless articles that relate to overcrowding in prisons. Weather it be about an inmate attacking a Corrections Officer, a riot or any other kind of chaotic event, overcrowding is almost always the root of the problem.

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