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Public Administration - Essay Example

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Public Administration: The Federal Prison System Section 1: Defining current policy issue Introduction: The prison system in the United States typically strives to accomplish two basic objectives: punish the offenders and strive for rehabilitation of the prisoners…
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Download file to see previous pages Other contract based facilities housed a total of 12,558 inmates according to the latest statistics (BOP, 2012). A majority of the offenders are confined in correctional facilities and detention centers run by the Bureau while the rest are confined in local and private correctional facilities in accordance with the agreements entered into by these institutions with the BOP. The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) aims to safeguard the interests of the society by confining offenders in controlled environments of prisons and other correctional facilities which are safe, cost-effective and secure and which offer the inmates an opportunity to strive for self-improvement and become law-abiding citizens post their term. However, the prison system in the U.S. despite its noble mission is plagued with several setbacks such as overcrowding, racial and ethnic disparities, persistence of unhealthy living environment of the inmates, issues related to health and inmate care, insufficient staffing, etc among others (Department of Justice, 2012). Key Policy Issues: The American Prison system has persistently faced the problem of overcrowding resulting in a rapid deterioration of conditions of confinement for the prisoners, rise in staffing issues, and a significant negative impact on the state budget. According to Sidlow and Henschen (2008) one of the key causes responsible for overcrowding in American prisons is the war on drugs and the legislations following the same. In a desperate move by the government to curb illegal substance abuse laws regarding incarceration of the offenders were strengthened, which ultimately resulted in a rapid rise in number of inmates arrested for the said offence. The rise in number of inmates in turn lead to a subsequent rise in budget spending required for construction and maintenance of correctional facilities as well as staffing. According to latest statistics America holds the record for housing the world’s largest number of inmates and the highest per capita rate of incarceration (The Economist, 2012). The excessive incarceration rates in the country triggered a humanitarian crisis due to ever increasing prisoners and shortage of space. Another persistent problem faced by the prison system is the racial and ethnic disparity in incarceration. The wide racial divide is far more apparent in the American justice system with African Americans having the largest incarceration rates and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as the lowest (Hartney & Vuong, 2009; Mauer, 2009). Comprehensive Review: For the purpose of this study three articles are reviewed which are discussed below: 1. Dead or Alive? The Federalism Revolution and Its Meaning for Public Administration by Robert K. Christensen, Charles R. Wise Prisons in the United States operate under laws framed by the respective states and the offenders are punished and incarcerated in accordance with the laws applicable under their jurisprudence. However, a clash between state and federal laws, may significantly influence the decision making by the public managers and affect the system of public administration in general. The authors have cited the historical 2005 Raich decision whereby the court held that "federal controlled Substances Act did not exceed the Congress's power to prohibit the use of medicinal marijuana, which was otherwise legal under the California law" (Christensen & Wise, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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