As a consequence of the “drug war” that began in the 1980s, the U.S. prison population has skyrocketed and, despite dramatic increases in corrections spending, many prisons are now grossly overcrowded.  This issue rose to the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court which has ruled that California must release or relocate more than 33,000 prisoners because prisons are so crowded as to amount to cruel and unusual punishment (source).

A recent issue of Mother Jones included a frightening exposé of the overcrowding in these prisons.  


Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.