However, research shows that mandatory minimum sentences and three strikes laws have little or no effect on reducing crime rates. But there is substantial evidence that they made sentences much longer, prison populations much larger, and incarceration rates much higher (4). For example, in
One of the main excuses that Reiman argues against is that “We’re too soft”. The US currently has the highest number of incarcerated individuals in the world, a lot of whom are minorities (not very soft). In a New York Times article written by David Brooks, he discusses how
Within that statistic, most of the imprisoned are non-violent offenders. The problem starts with Arizona’s mandatory imprisonment laws. Research highlights that, “under Arizona's mandatory sentencing system, non-violent offenders make up the majority of state prisoners” (Greene). However, the mandatory sentencing does not just affect Arizona’s population. All across America, mandatory sentencing laws are forcing people to be put into prisons without a second thought.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with about 2.3 million people in prison. According to Vitanna.org’s statistics, an estimated one million of these prisoners are African American. 12.3 percent of the population is black, yet over 43 percent of America’s prisoners are black. This disparity is certainly unnatural, seeing as how African Americans are no more likely to be criminals than whites. Black men are overrepresented in prisons because of the unfortunately common stereotype that they are all remorseless criminals.
Juvenile Incarceration is an epidemic in America that has no chance of slowing down without the support and changes from the government. One problem contributing to this issue is that the justice system focuses mainly on punishing the juvenile offender through prison time, instead of taking preventative measures and supporting rehabilitation. Imprisoning juveniles is not only ineffective, as evidenced by the high recidivism rates, but it is also extremely expensive. The average annual cost of housing one juvenile in jail is $88,000. That number multiplied by the number of incarcerated juveniles, equates to an end cost to the government of approximately 21 billion dollars.
“From 1982 to 1989”, the percentage of “drug-related murders” out of all types of murders went up “2 to 7.4 percent”. This can be attributed to the introduction of crack into society because crack was introduced during that time frame. One person said that the innocents killed in these were the casualties of fights between drug dealers who are fighting for their spot within the drug industry. The fact that innocent people were caught in the fights of drug dealers would cause people to feel unsafe where they live, scared of being the next victims of drug dealers’ violence. These fights between crack drug dealers would not have occurred had the demand for crack not been so high, thus Americans brought these fights, although unintentionally, on themselves by giving rise to a crack
US Department of Justice states, “Criminals commit six times more homicides, four times assaults, and almost one and a half times as many robberies under the influence of drugs. ”(Carson, E.A & Sabol, W.J., 2012). This statistics shows us that often drugs contributed to the act of violence and irrationality in committing crimes. If drugs were legalized, there could be then a higher possibility for having more people in society committing crimes. Therefore, legalizing drugs could maybe increase addiction and number of consumers and by this way increase drug-induced
According to the Bureau of Justice, weapon arrests are 5 times greater for blacks compared to whites; numbers reading 69 for whites and 430 for blacks. Progressives will argue that the disparity reflects on the institutional racism in the criminal justice system. Others say the disparity is due to the fact that black people are disproportionately more likely to commit such crimes. There 's truth to both, yet there 's no disputing the figures. Much of it comes down to professional discretion.
Drug abuse can rewire brain connections, decrease synapse activity and cause addiction. The American Psychiatric Association says that addiction is a complex condition, and a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 21.5 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2014. Addiction to drugs has been a growing issue in America, and is causing jails to become overcrowded. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that more than half of federal prisoners were incarcerated for drug crimes in 2010.
A third disadvantage to the death penalty is the highly possible risk of wrongful execution/punishment. Sometimes people may be charged with or receive a punishment because of something they are innocent for. This can happen because of several factors. “Between 2007 and 2017 the leading contributing causes of wrongful conviction in the death row exonerations were official misconduct (82.4%), perjury or false accusations (76.5%), false or misleading forensic evidence (32.4%), inadequate legal defense (23.5%), false or fabricated confession (17.6%), and mistaken eyewitness identification (11.8%)” (“Causes of Wrongful…”). A disadvantage to life in prison is that more prisons need to be built.
A severe issue with the reliability of the legal system is the large amounts of cases in which individuals that are falsely convicted on capital crimes facing punishment by death (Harmon, 2004). Upon further investigation, the discovery was made through extensive research about the increased pressures in the courtrooms due to the races present. While the race of the victim plays a substantial role in the discrimination process of the courtroom, it is also an issue of who is facing the capital penalties. Officials on cases are influenced by the pressures in the courtroom including the amount of evidence identifying the defendant, but in some cases, a nonwhite defendant is convicted on less evidence presented than a white defendant (Harmon,
Also race and gender plays a big factor when sentencing offenders. For example, in the book it states that African Americans receive harsher sentences on average than white or Asian American offenders and males have a longer sentencing than females. This is just causing people to be in jail who shouldn’t really be there and this is also the reason why jails are overpopulating. Someone who has possession of drugs should not be going to jail longer than someone who committed murder. Our system of sentencing isn’t so rational and fair when it comes to sentencing.
There should be a way of ruling with compassion where even those with authority should show a sincere desire to help because it lessens the amount of hostility when correcting one’s behavior. Also, there should be programs that will help convicts to function better in society upon release so that they do not go back to the same mischief. Mass Incarceration serves to be problematic within the United States of America, but there can be solutions and hopefully one day there will be a public official will come along and implement these
Over the past 40 years U.S. incarceration has grown at an extraordinary rate, with the United States’ prison population increasing from 320,000 inmates in 1980 to nearly 2.3 million inmates in 2013. The growth in prison population is in part due to society’s shift toward tough on crime policies including determinate sentencing, truth-in-sentencing laws, and mandatory minimums. These tough on crime policies resulted in more individuals committing less serious crimes being sentenced to serve time and longer prison sentences. The 1970s-1980s: The War on Drugs and Changes in Sentencing Policy Incarceration rates did rise above 140 persons imprisoned per 100,000 of the population until the mid 1970s.
This new law caused an increase from an estimated 300,000 to 2 million prison inmates over the course of the last two decades. (Michelle Alexander, 2010) According to Rebecca C. Hatey and Jennifer L. Eberhdt of Stanford University, California holds only 7% of African American population but 45% of California’s prison inmates are African American under the three strikes law. (Racial Disparities in Incarceration Increase Acceptance of Punitive Policies 2014) Michelle Alexander writes that the mass incarceration of the 1990’s created a new “racial caste system” and extreme funding for the criminal system.