The purpose of this paper is to examine recidivism and public perception. Every year thousands of ex-offenders are returned to prison for a variety of reasons. Many jurisdictions lack the resources for ex-offenders to have a successful return to society (James, 2011). The disadvantages of recidivism effects not only the lives of felons, but also their families and surrounding communities. Recidivism occurs when a person has been previously incarcerated, and later released, reoffends, and returns to the correctional system.
This problem is getting worse and worse by the years and even former president Barrack Obama commented- “Over the last few decades, we’ve locked up more and more nonviolent offenders than ever before. Longer than ever before and that is the real reason our prison population is so high.” The United States has imprisoned more than 25 percent of all the prisoners in the world, even though we only have about 5 percent of the world’s population.
Second to liquor charges, immigration charges had the second-largest population of incarcerated people. This led to the three federal prisons (at the time) to become overcrowded (Hernandez
In 1971, 1 out of 12 Americans were incarcerated. Since that time, the prisoner ratio has exponentially increased; today, that ratio is 1 out of 51. With that number continuing to rise, many problems result out of it. Prison overcrowding is a growing problem in the United States. The number of people being taken in has regressive effects on the purpose behind imprisonment.
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.
Incarceration rates have skyrocketed over the last forty years-- which could be interpreted as good or bad. There have been many questions surrounding incarceration directly being linked to a drop in crime rate: both positive and negative. One pair of economical authors, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, approached this concept from a mostly-positive outlook: the high incarceration rate was responsible for one-third of the crime drop in the 1990’s (123-124). The authors use high incarceration rate along with innovative police strategies, plummet of the crack market, and aging in the population to make a base argument of reasons for crime drop; however, the main argument they utilize is the legalization of abortions (Levitt and Dubner 120-121,
The blunt facts of mass incarceration for criminal offenders in United are very well known as they house the world’s largest prison population (Raphael & Stoll 2011). As of March 2010, the incarceration population in United States are as high as 2.3 million, making them the world leader in incarcerating its citizens. The jurisdiction believes that prison has an important role to play in protecting the community against offenders and in punishing them for their crime (Foucault, 2009). However, research and evidence have shown that the use of imprisonment has many disadvantages. The rate of growth in criminal justice system has slowed in recent years and the call for prison reforms have largely fallen on deaf ears (Raphael & Stoll, 2011).
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.
However, this is seldom the way events turn out. According to Muntingh (2008) ex-convicts are thirteen times more likely to be unemployed than the general population as a result of 80% of prisoners possessing writing skills, 65% possessing numeracy skills, and 50% having literacy skills that are equivalent to or below that of an 11-year old child. This increase their chances of reoffending and being sent back to prison as they cannot financially support themselves or their families ( those who are welcomed back into their families) so they tend to look for currency elsewhere which often involves illegal activities such as the selling of drugs or stolen goods. Others prefer to return to prison where they are guaranteed shelter and meals which they cannot provide for themselves in the “real
“ We are not moving nearly fast enough to reduce incarceration… Over 2 million Americans live caged… a 550 percent increase in the last 40 years. ” Most of the people in the world are in jail. Therefore , incarceration is not lowering due to people being imprisoned on a daily basis. Half of the people in the world commit very bad crimes , which lead them to be imprisoned.
Very few criminals really get deterred by the death penalty. A Bristol prison chaplain says that, “...out of 167 condemned criminals whom he had interviewed, only three had not witnessed an execution” (Weil 2013). The criminals sentenced to death row were not deterred by the death penalty, even though almost all of them have witnessed a hanging. Capital punishment is not an effective way to deter criminals, since the prospect of spending one’s entire life behind bars sounds even worse. The criminals who think they can get away with their crimes, also think that they will not be executed if convicted.
However, the penalty stands to be only temporary. Studies have shown that only seventy-one percent of those released from prison are convicted of a serious crime within only three years after their releasement ( ). Is prison housing the criminals or teaching them? A correctional facility is built to correct and rehabilitate, however prison systems in America appear to be only a short stop before the production of the criminals grand plan. The majority of those who are sentenced to prison have a high rate of returning due to their difficulty in gaining a position with a self-sustaining wage and a lack knowledge on a life without crime.
Race, Class, and Incarceration The main goal of the U.S. law enforcement has been to make the world a safer place but in the process of making the world a safer and “better” place there have been quite some downfalls. One of those many downfalls would have to be the American prison system. In today’s society police enforcement has given so much focus on prosecuting street crime while failing to acknowledge white-collar crime and other major crimes that occur every day.
(Michelle Alexander, 2010:58) The three strikes law targeted the communities affluent with minority groups. At the turn of the 21st century the majority that entered the prison system were African Americans and Latinos. (Michelle Alexander, 2010) The reason behind mass incarceration was due to the crack down on the deteriorating communities where the majority of minorities lived. Authors Scott Ehlers, Vincent Schiraldi and Jason Ziedenberg of Still Striking Out: Ten Years of California’s Three Strikes (2004) report that African Americans in prison because of the three strike law is higher per every 100,000 African American than Whites and Latinos in California. (U.S. Census Bureau