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.
It is for this reason legislators should consider adopting alternative policies and practices that may assist with high racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Some recommendations include: Establishing a national criminal justice commission to examine incarceration and racial disparities; Scaling back the number of prosecutions for low-level drug offenders when it comes to the war on drugs; Abolishing mandatory minimum sentences; Developing new policies and procedures and integrating them into training programs to reduce racial
The current system that incarcerates people over and over is unsustainable and does not lower the crime rate nor encourage prisoner reformation. When non-violent, first time offenders are incarcerated alongside violent repeat offenders, their chance of recidivating can be drastically altered by their experience in prison. Alternative sentencing for non-violent drug offenders could alleviate this problem, but many current laws hinder many possible solutions. Recently lawmakers have made attempts to lower the recidivism rates in America, for example the Second Chance Act helps aid prisoners returning into society after incarceration. The act allows states to appropriate money to communities to help provide services such as education, drug treatment programs, mental health programs, job corps services, and others to aid in offenders returning to society after incarceration (Conyers, 2013).
The increased interest on drug policy by the United States government took a heavy toll on African Americans, as “black Americans then constituted approximately 12 percent of our country's population and 13 percent of drug users. Nevertheless, they accounted for 33 percent of all drug-related arrests, 62 percent of drug-related convictions and 70 percent of drug-related incarcerations” (Qk3). African Americans were heavily targeted during these times of increased vigilance in the past with increased focus on drug policies, as it was easier with the active laws to focus attention on African Americans because of the difference in severity of sentence length depending on the type of drug in possession. Since crack cocaine was more common among African Americans the penalty for being caught with crack cocaine was much more severe than that of the penalty for powder cocaine, which was a staple among the
In 1972, former President Richard Nixon made his infamous statements regarding crime and drug abuse. In this speech, he declared a war on crime and drugs and intended to decrease the number of people using drugs and the amount of crimes that were committed. Since this declaration, incarceration rates in the U.S. have gone up by 500%, even though the amount of crime happening has gone down. One of the reasons why I feel our rates have risen, is because sometimes, we put people in jail when they don’t need to be there in the first place.
Essentially, the war on drugs has demonstrated to be an exorbitant expense. The federal government in 2002 alone spent $18.822 billion in the form of expenditures such as treatment, prevention, and domestic law enforcement (CSDP, 2007, p. 54). However, given that the drug war has garnered meager results, this investment may be interpreted as a waste of taxpayer dollars. Alternatively, the money that has been allocated to arrest and detain drug offenders may also be a source of contention. CSDP (2007) “Of the 1,846,351 arrests for drug law violations in 2005, 81.7% (1,508,469) were for possession of a controlled substance.
The people incarcerated for drug abuse are mainly Black or other minorities. The system can not be color blind when a specific group is incarcerated at higher rates than another. According to “ The Drug War as Race War,” Kenneth B. Nunn shares a fact from the Mental Health department saying that “ 76% are White drug users, 14% are Black, and 8% are Hispanic” ( Nunn). The incarceration rates should be higher for Whites given the fact that they have a higher drug usage reported. In all reality, it would not make sense to lock up any group at a significantly greater rate compared
Drug courts, initially propelled in Florida in 1989, are an arrangement of escalated treatment and supervision. The thought is to treat the instances of peaceful substance-mishandling guilty parties uniquely in contrast to other criminal cases in light of the fact that the dependence is at the base of the criminal action. Accentuation is on recovery instead of discipline.
Untie the Judges Hands Imagine you are a fifty-one year old man and you have not eaten in two days, and you resort to theft. Stealing a fifty-cent package of doughnuts from the corner store. You are at your home when suddenly officers burst in and arrest you.
When it comes to the war on drugs law makers draw a blink on whom and how to punish. This cause chaos for judges and over populations in prison. Many lawmakers have struggled over the years with finding the right solution for sentencing for crimes. For example in the war on drugs congress came together and made a law that was passed that stated, if you were caught with certain about of drugs in your possession you will get life with no parole. This law seemed to be the wisest ways to crack down on major drug dealers but, turned out to be a disaster.
The War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration The United States incarcerates at a higher rate than any other country in the world. In fact, the U.S. alone is home to 25% of the world’s prison population; this, however, wasn’t always the case. The rapid growth of the U.S. prison population can be traced two decades back to the declaration of the War on Drugs by President Ronald Regan in the early eighties and previously mentioned by President Richard Nixon. In an effort to reassure White Americans’ of their elite positioning in the underlying racial caste system in a time where inner-city communities were facing major economic collapses, the Regan administration called for the reinforcement of the sale, distribution, and consumption of illicit drugs,
Poverty indirectly occurs from unemployment, and social disorganization. The economic status of an offender has a significant impact on the likelihood of recidivism. At that point, law enforcement entities and society as a whole started to view African Americans as violent drug offenders (Walker, Delone,
There are more African Americans in prison now, than there were enslaved in 1850. These individuals are not in prison because they are committing more crimes than their white counterparts, but because of a discriminatory system that targets african americans. Blacks can commit the same crimes as whites, but are more likely to be imprisoned and or receive a steeper sentence. This disproportionate racial sentencing has been a growing issue the United States for four decades, and started with the Reagan Administration's War On Drugs. Private prison organizations lobby for harsher punishments, and profit from the influx of inmates.
There is no difference between whites and blacks using or dealing drugs, however blacks are four to eleven times more likely to be arrested for drug offenses, according to the Human Rights Watch. This is a repetition of history, as African American communities are yet again disproportionally