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For immediate release
(Atlanta)….The National Incarceration Association (NIA), a nonprofit organization that advocates for reforms to the nation’s prison and justice systems, believes that the recent riots in a South Carolina maximum security prison are, at least in part, a result of unsuccessful and outdated policies that are widespread throughout the U.S. Persistent prison overcrowding, under-funding, outsourcing of correctional facility operations to for-profit companies, and lack of resources to offer even modest rehabilitation programs such as substance abuse treatment and counseling for addicted inmates all contribute to the massive inadequacies in America’s prison system.
NIA is a powerful advocate for corrections employees, detainees and inmates, and their families. The organization is also a strong supporter of prison and justice system reforms such as walking back mandatory sentences, using diversion programs as an alternative to incarceration for low-level drug crimes and nonviolent offenders, and treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues during periods of incarceration.
“The loss of life last week as a result of riots at Lee Correctional Institution is a tragedy for the nation, for the state of South Carolina, and especially for the families of the young men who died so needlessly,” said NIA President and founder Kate Boccia. “As a country, we can and must do a better job of protecting our citizens from crime and of punishing and rehabilitating offenders,” Boccia continued.
NIA works with other non-government organizations to reverse the impact of our country’s traditional practice of imprisoning vast numbers of our citizens. The latest Department of Justice statistics show that 1.5 million Americans are behind bars in federal and state prisons, and city and county jails hold nearly 750,000 more inmates. The American Public Health Association has found that nearly 2 out of 3 offenders in jails and prisons meet the medical guidelines for substance abuse and addiction. Only 1 out of 10 will get treatment behind bars, even though more than 9 out of 10 will return to their communities, regardless of their crime or the length of their sentence.
“We are fortunate that no corrections officers were injured or killed, and that the incident did not claim more lives among the inmates at Lee,” said Boccia. “This sad event pushes the members and volunteers at NIA to work even harder to improve our criminal justice system and enhance the success of corrections practices throughout the U.S.”
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