Mass Incarceration Literature Review

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The United States has a larger percent of its population incarcerated than any other country. America is responsible for a quarter of the world’s inmates, and its incarceration rate is growing exponentially. The expense generated by these overcrowded prisons cost the country a substantial amount of money every year. While people are incarcerated for several reasons, the country’s prisons are focused on punishment rather than reform, and the result is a misguided system that fails to rehabilitate criminals or discourage crime. This literature review will discuss the ineffectiveness of the United States’ criminal justice system and how mass incarceration of non-violent offenders, racial profiling, and a high rate of recidivism has become a problem. …show more content…

This issue led to what is now resulting in mass incarceration. Mass incarceration has been shown to affect mostly poor and minorities. Individuals living in poverty are not afforded the same royalties as those who are not in poverty. They are more willing to commit crimes because of their lack of fortune. The crime rate is more prone to be in urban communities, which hold a significant number of minorities. Within the urban communities, negative perceptions are magnified. Adolescents are more prone to be a product of their environment, especially those whose parents are incarcerated. Because of this trend adolescents are being incarcerated at an alarming rate and sentenced to adult facilities. Lambie & Randall (2013) states, the United States have imposed harsher penalties on serious young offenders, and have consequently increased rates of incarcerated youth and made it easier for youth to be treated and incarcerated as adults within the justice …show more content…

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 Drug Treatment Alternative-to-Prison Program is another attempt to provide better treatment for people who are convicted. The study showed that drug offenders who underwent a treatment program outside of prison had a 26 percent less rate of re-arrest after two years than a control group that was sent to prison (Justice Policy Institute, 2010). Rehabilitative programs like the Second Chance Act and the Drug Treatment Alternative-to-Prison Program has shown to growth and positive

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