Causes Of Incarceration

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It is easy to see the incarceration rates rising while turning on any news station or reading any newspaper. Crime is prevalent throughout the United States, and our prison systems continue to grow in size without any real sign of slowing down. Overpopulation of our prison system is slowing becoming a reality, if it has not already. According to the Population Reference Bureau since 2002, the United States has had the highest incarceration rate in the world. There are many reasons why in the United States there are about of about 500 prisoners per 100,000 people, or about 1.6 million prisoners in 2010. (Population Reference Bureau) For my research paper I would like to examine our prison system from within, the causes of such incarceration…show more content…
The answer is obvious: crime. But why does the United States have such a higher rate of incarceration compared to other countries? According to an article done in, one of the biggest causes of incarceration is the harsh drug penalties. State legislatures began passing laws that meted out the mandatory-minimum sentences for drug-related crimes, but this still did not make that big of a difference. In fact, according to a chart done by, the majority (52%) of inmates in federal prison are there because of drug related victims. Also, 53% of the inmates in state prison are there because of violent crime. This leads me to believe that what really needs to be addressed is violence and drugs. Although violence is hard to control, there is something being done about the drug epidemic that is increasingly growing. The United States’ drug epidemic is much more intense compared to other countries, including developed and non-developed countries. Something else that the United States does that is different worldwide is the “three-strikes rule.” This means that if you were convicted of a third crime, your prison term is anywhere from 25 years to life in prison. To me, this can be very hazardous if a person makes silly mistakes that lead into a series of crime events, meaning that the felon is…show more content…
The prison system is a very complex industry and, believe it or not, is one of the main reasons that the incarceration rates of people continue to rise in the United States. Interestingly enough, the system that is created to punish the offenders, actually helps the prisoners learn from within the system only to return to jail when released into society because of its culture. Furthermore, the real reason for the increase in occupants is because of what is currently an epidemic in the United States. Are there any factors that shed light onto why this is? For example, does race play a factor since there are more blacks in prisons than whites? If so, is it because of their low-income neighborhood and lifestyle growing up? It is not hard to recognize that the drug crime offenses are increasing, and it shows with the wide epidemic of the war on drugs. Lastly, combatting violent and drug related crimes would help decrease incarceration rates. Combining communication and readily available support and income can help people with violence and drugs. To me personally, I believe that if we, as a society, continue to strive for a more stable community, violence and drugs will decrease, thus leading to lower incarceration rates and an overall better
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