One of the hardest challenges for the United States, in terms of the criminal justice system, is the overcrowding of prisons. In fact, the problem has become so big that the U.S. has more people in jail than any other country on earth – about 2.2 million people, to be exact. To deal with this growing issue, governments and correctional administrations began to invent creative alternatives and policies to handle the overcrowding and to reduce the cost. One of these alternatives has been the use of private prisons, where the individuals in charge of the ownership, operation, and responsibility shifts from the public sector (the government) to the private sector (a third party contracted by a government agency). In order to make profits, private
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.
To much of the common citizen’s disbelief, the spike in the mass incarceration of citizens in America is not necessarily a result of the national increase in violence, but rather an operation fueled by the corruption within our own legal system. Although many individuals in the United States would stand to believe that there is no particular way that anyone could stand to profit from the mass incarceration of Americans–they are wrong. The standing profiteers for mass incarceration is the private prison industry. The name to their game is simple, the more that the public good suffers from mass incarceration, the more government money the companies can obtain. As a result of these efforts, the private prison industry cuts corners at the expense of public safety and prison security in order to maximize profits by obtaining government money, resulting in the mass denial of American citizen’s liberty.
The overcrowding of prisons in California and the rest of America is the result of “manufactured crime”. These are crimes which have no victim yet are considered felonies and follow the three strike law. Many people do not know that there are more incarcerated people in America than any other country on earth. According to the American Civil Liberties Union “America contains 5% of the world 's human population while also containing 25% of the world’s prison population. Since 1970, our prison population has risen by some 700% - an increase far outpacing rates of population growth and crime1”. The reason America has so many incarcerated people is not because Americans commit more crimes or the police are just better at finding criminals,
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.
This preconceived notion could not be farther from the truth. In reality, these reform movements are idiotically placing a bandaid over the tremendous issue that the prison system is. An imbalance of reforms between women and men, unrestrained sexual abuse in women’s prisons, and tyrannical gender roles are just three of countless examples of how prison reform movements only create more misfortune and fail to provide any real solution to worsening prison conditions. Perhaps instead of conjuring up additional ideas on how to reform prisons, America’s so-called democratic society should agree upon abolishing prisons as a whole. This being said, it is crucial to identify ongoing issues in today’s society, understand how they contribute to unlawful behavior, and seek a solution.
51% of all prisoners released are returned to the prison system and nearly 30% are returned within the first six months of their release (Pinard, 2006). Roughly two-thirds of all prisoners are rearrested within three years (Pinard, 2006). The high rates of incarceration and recidivism have reinvigorated debate about the purpose of the prison. The time is ripe to debate prison reform. "America 's penal system needs a top-to-bottom overhaul - and a movement of people ready to do something about it is taking shape nicely" (McCarthy,
Private prisons were constructed as a response to the overcrowding in federal prisons during the 1980s; many people speculate whether or not private prisons are good or bad. Critics argue that private prisons like any business are driven by profit, and prisons profit from the amount of criminals they are able to contain which gives the private prisons and their shareholders incentive to keep the prison population high and expenses low. The National Council on Crime and Delinquency estimates that over the next ten years state and federal expenditures on prisons will amount to $351 billion6. These government subsidies along with the support of private prison shareholders allow the prison industrial complex to keep their power and influence
Racial profiling in poor neighborhoods led to skyrocketing arrests of young black males, completely reversing the black to white ratio of incarcerated individuals. Prison overcrowding is a real issue in our nation, and we are five percent of the world’s population, yet house twenty-five percent of the world’s inmates (Austin, Irwin,
The documentary the “13th” had shocking statistics on how many people are incarcerated in the United States. The 1970’s was the beginning of the “mass incarceration era,” which started with 357,292 people incarcerated. From there, the prison population has continuously increased and reached a population of 2,306,200 in 2014. Many of these people incarcerated are African-Americans because the criminal justice system has always worked against them. African-Americans in the United States account for 6.5% of the population, meanwhile they account for 42% of the prison population.
In this day and age, There are five times as many people in jail as there were in the 1970s. Almost 5 percent of the population of the United States will go to prison at in point of their life. Conservatives believe that imprisonment reduces crime in two ways: it removes criminals from the public so they can not commit more crimes, and it also discourages people who would commit a crime as they consider the consequences. Unfortunately, neither of these outcomes have come to be true. In fact, mass incarceration and “tough on crime” laws have been extremely ineffective that instead of reducing crime, it increases it.
Criminal legislation and incarceration have long been used as a means to control "powerless" and disadvantaged groups in America. These groups are socially and politically neglected and only receive attention when they are perceived to be a threat to the larger society and then the attention comes in the form of control and punishment (Page, 1993). The control generally manifests itself through crime legislation and the punishment through incarceration. By the end of 2005, there were more than 7 million people under some form of criminal justice supervision (Glaze & Bonczar 2006; Harrison & Beck, 2006a). With such a large and growing number of people under correctional control during a time in which crime rates had either fallen or were stabilizing raises important questions about the purpose and consequences of this institutional intervention.
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.
Prison reform has been an ongoing topic in the history of America, and has gone through many changes in America's past. Mixed feelings have been persevered on the status of implementing these prison reform programs, with little getting done, and whether it is the right thing to do to help those who have committed a crime. Many criminal justice experts have viewed imprisonment as a way to improve oneself and maintain that people in prison come out changed for the better (encyclopedia.com, 2007). In the colonial days, American prisons were utilized to brutally punish individuals, creating a gruesome experience for the prisoners in an attempt to make them rectify their behavior and fear a return to prison (encyclopedia.com, 2007). This practice may have worked 200 years ago, but as the world has grown more complex, time has proven that fear alone does not prevent recidivism.
People of all different races and ethnicities are locked behind bars because they have been convicted of committing a crime and they are paying for the consequences. When looking at the racial composition of a prison in the United States, it does not mimic the population. This is because some races and ethnicities are over represented in the correctional system in the U.S. (Walker, Spohn, & DeLone, 2018). According Walker et al. (2018), African-Americans/Blacks make up less than fifteen percent of the U.S. population, while this race has around thirty-seven percent of the population in the correctional system today.