On Architecture for Justice: A Translog Analysis of Capital Construction and Spatial Expansion as Panacea for Facility Crowding in Nigeria and New York

C. Chuba Jon-Nwakalo


Crowding in correctional facilities is a major problem that has continued to overwhelm correctional policy makers. Although this problem has always existed, it has of late taken on added importance due to diminishing public resources, especially needed  funds for new prison construction  and the heightened publicity that the crime problem has received.  The negative effects of crowding in correctional facilities often culminate in riots. When these riots occur, public attention becomes focused on crime and the criminal and questions begin to be asked about conditions in correctional facilities. Partly as a result of misperception of public opinion with regard to punishment and partly because of lack of the will to try other solutions, policy makers often resort to prison spatial or capacity expansion programs(new construction and rehabilitation of existing ones) as a panacea. It becomes the major means of reducing crowding in correctional facilities. To create more prison space, policy makers are inclined to increase correctional capital expenditures while neglecting alternatives to incarceration expenditures. This study investigates this phenomenon as it applies to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the State of New York, USA. The study also looks at crime rates as they affect crowding in correctional facilities in the said entities. The method of analysis involves development of a Translog (Transcendental logarithmic) model. The model was estimated using Ordinary Least Squares method, with Crowding as the dependent variable and capital construction expenditures, alternatives to incarceration expenditures and crime rates as independent or explanatory variables. The results of the study indicate that alternatives to incarceration expenditures appear to be more effective in reducing crowding in correctional facilities than capital construction expenditures. The result also shows that crime rates are positive determinants of crowding.

Keywords: Crowding, Over-crowding, Architecture for Justice, Capital Construction Expenditures, Construction Expansion, Spatial Expansion, Correctional Facility, Prison, Alternatives to Incarceration Expenditures, Translog Functions


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