When the American prison system began, it was believed that rehabilitation, the act of restoring one’s character, could be beneficial for criminals to start over. According to Tom Wicker, “The system…began as a reform impulse, the idea that if offenders were isolated, shielded from the public mockery that had accompanied hangings and the stocks, given time to repent, and worked hard, they could be turned away from crime and transformed into useful citizens” (xii). Criminals could become better citizens and have a positive outlook for a future if they worked hard and were secluded from the outside world. Although this idea seems more humane, it did not last long in the prison system because many people believed that any crime committed deserved
In America, 2.3 million people are in prison. American has the highest prison population in the world. This is due to “tough on crime laws” that have been enforced since the 1960’s. Although these laws do help keep crime off the street, they have done more harm than good for our country. Mass incarceration is a major issues in America, it leads to poverty, broken families, money wasted, and many other problems. Although everyone can recognize mass incarceration is a problem, they are different ways people think it should be dealt with.
Crime prevention is a key aim of the criminal justice system. Offenders are incarcerated in prisons in a expectation that they will feel punished enough to learn from their mistakes and not commit further crimes, this is called deterrence and is a main goal of prisons today (Daly, 2003). Prisons in their current form are often overcrowded, anxiety inducing, restrictive and have been found to exacerbate the mental health of offenders (Matthews, 2016). In saying this, research by Crank and Brezina (2012) suggests that some offenders find prison ‘easier than being on the street’. Crank and Brezina (2012) conducted a study where they surveyed a large group of inmates and questioned them on their views of being incarcerated. Many
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
In March 2008, U.S Congress passed the Second Chance Act. It was passed to reduce the number of people returned to jail after parole release, not because of a crime committed, but because of small violations or other reasons. It was put in place to help the paroles live a better life. It also put in place new services and programs to help paroles get their life in order. Programs like Reentry courts, Educating and Training people for jobs while they are in prison, mentoring programs to adults and teens getting out of jail, drug treatment, alternatives to jail time and other programs to ensure that people who are in the system get a ‘second chance’ in life.
Does it make sense to lock up 2.4 million people on any given day, giving the U.S the highest incarceration rate in the world. More people are going to jail, this implies that people are taken to prison everyday for many facilities and many go for no reason. People go to jail and get treated the worst way as possible. This is a reason why the prison system needs to be changed. Inmates need to be treated better. The government treats prisoners as if they are nothing in this world. The U.S prison system needs to be reformed by building new and better prisons and making it more humane and fair.
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.
According to Phelps (2013), as from 1998 to 2007 states that had the greatest increases in incarceration rates failed to observe a corresponding drop in crime rates. On the other hands, states such as New York, Texas, New Jersey and North and South Carolina that lowered their incarceration rates in favor of community corrections programs experienced a drop in crime rates (p.53). Incarceration has also failed in correcting prisoners. Most of the prisoners always go back to committing crimes once released from prison. It has led to a rise in the recidivism rates of prisoners. Recidivism refers to the repetition of criminal behavior (James, 2011). According to the United States Bureau of Justice 2010 statistics report, three-quarters of released prisoners are constantly rearrested for new crimes and more than half of these go back to prison in a period of two to three years after their release. Ex- inmates account for an approximated 19 percent of all arrests (Phelps, 2013, p.55). Criminals who return to the community are also most of the times worse off after a period of confinement than when they entered. It is attributable to the fact that these inmates learn antisocial and criminal attitudes from other
The issue of prison overcrowding has been an increasing in America. There are about 2.2 million Americans in jail or prison. The number of people in prison have gotten so large that about one in every 100 adults are behind bars. The increase in inmate population in the United States is a concern to me because some of these people have committed non-violent crimes or have drug related crimes. These people should be placed in rehabilitation centers or be counseled about drug distributing. Also when it comes to the public, the money used for funding jails and prisons could be used to help college students pay for school. Governments grants only cover so much of a student’s tuition and money spent on prisons could be replaced with funding students.
The prison system itself is corrupted and unfair to those individuals in it. Even though there are reform programs within the prisons, many prisoners return to prison due to inconsistent follow ups and the absence of these programs outside of prison. This creates high recidivism rates because they have a place to sleep and guaranteed meals and outside of prison it’s harder from them to have access to all of that. Elliot Currie states, “As we have crammed more and more offenders into prison, we have simultaneously retreated from the already minimal commitment to help them reenter productive society.” When the Eastern State Penitentiary was first opened in 1829, its main focus was to rehabilitate prisoners so they could reenter society (Eastern State Penitentiary). Now, overcrowding is a major issue in the United States prison system. According to the FBI Releases Preliminary Semiannual Crime Statistics for 2015, the most common crime was possession drug crimes, followed by property crimes. This shows that majority of those incarcerated in prison are there for nonviolent crimes. The government should change their drug law policies and instead of doing prison time, be forced to pay a hefty fine. This way, it can reduce jail and prison populations and thereby reducing recidivism
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice System (TDCJ) incarcerates 143,691 inmates housed in 124 units (Texas Tribune, 2016). Nearly 95% of prison inmates across the United States will be released from prison (Petersilia, 2004), (as cited in Orrick and Vieraitis, 2015). 21,000 prisoners were released from Texas Prisons, and according to the statistics, one out of five of these inmates will within commit more crime three years after release (Burnett, 2015). According to Burnett (2015), recidivism in Texas is contributed to the lack of decent jobs and or supportive families, and ex-inmates tend to fall into the same environments without any new survival skills. Over time they go back to what they know best, which is to survive by way of criminal
The fundamental basis of the reentry collaboration is that each constituent of the criminal justice system (e.g., law enforcement, the courts, institutional and community corrections) plays a role not only in immediate offender processing and control (e.g., arrest, conviction, incarceration, release), but also in longstanding offender change (e.g., employment, family, mental health, substance abuse, criminality). Since 1999, the Office of Justice Programs has been instrumental in the development of a series of system-wide reentry initiatives, including the Reentry Partnership Initiatives (RPI) (NCJRS, 2002).
It is clear that we have not embraced the theory of rehabilitation because we still use prisons to “warehouse” offenders. The concern with “warehousing” is that the offender will more than likely end up back in prison. We have learned that recidivism is a major concern facing society today because offenders have little chance of employment, no funds or housing, and often time’s very little support from family or friends. I stand behind rehabilitation for offenders because I feel like it is the only way to truly stop crime. In
In conclusion, there are both positive and negative effects on the prison system in America due to the shifts in sentencing of criminals. The positive effects outweigh the negative effects as America is less about mass incarceration and more about rehabilitation. By lowering the incarceration rate and lowering the over population of the prisons we are able to take more severe offender and try to get them the rehabilitation that they need. Resources are not as thinly spread, which allow the system to more adequately meet the needs of those who spend time in
Another problem that is occurring in the parole system is the release of prisoners into the parole system who were unfairly placed in it due to reasons that have nothing to do with the convicted themselves. Prisons are becoming so overcrowded that the courts are looking to make room by getting rid of some of the existing residents (Kleiman, and Hawken), and this may seem like a great opportunity for the future parolees. But in the end it is doing more harm than good. There are different kinds of parole a prisoner could get assigned to them, if they are even eligible for parole at all. This problem happens in the case of Discretionary Parole, which is the type of parole that is brought up to the parole board to discuss (OVERVIEW). This is an important issue that should be dealt with because it is not fair to send potentially dangerous people into communities when the entire conflict can be avoided. Lastly, parole sets up parolees for failure because they have a strict amount of rules they need to follow but are not in the right circumstances to do so. Mark Kleiman, a professor who teaches