Way too often, when there are problems with a jail, people assume that the answer is to build a bigger jail.
Unfortunately, building a bigger jail rarely fixes ANY of the real reasons why our jails have serious problems.
- Does building a bigger jail reduce jail populations? No
- Does building a bigger jail change the approach towards people incarcerated? No
- Does building a bigger jail fix the problems with substance abuse or mental health treatment that make our jails such a horror show? No
- Does building a bigger jail change the way correctional officers treat people incarcerated in their facilities? No
You get the idea. Luckily, the Prison Policy Institute put out a great paper breaking down the questions we should be asking when people start talking about building new jails. Give it a read (well worth your time).