Law | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Prison overcrowding has become a topic of national conversation over the last decade. Numerous court cases have come to fruition because of the poor living conditions experienced by inmates while incarcerated. Prior court cases, such as Estelle v. Gamble (1976) and Brennan v. Farmer (1994), have ruled that inmates must be afforded the constitutional rights established under the Eighth Amendment while incarcerated. Recent court cases, including Plata v. Brown (2011), have affirmed inmates’ claims that current prison conditions are a violation of these constitutional rights. To correct these violations, prisons must reduce their populations below a court established maximum. This can be accomplished through a variety of ways. One of the most controversial is the early release of inmates, as the public views it as a public safety concern. There is no universal system established to determine who should be eligible for early release. This review of previous research and the current prison conditions aims to develop a comprehensive model to determine which inmates should be considered as most eligible for early release.