In 2012, almost seven thousand inmates were serving life sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles (603). Sentencing and correctional facilities were not insusceptible to the confusion of the times, but also faced additional inconvenience. Sentencing research uncovered major discretion and something unlike anything they have ever seen before, resulting in negative punishments for minorities. The conditions in prisons led to fights and the death/injury of inmates and staff. Crime rates rising, social disobedience, and drug use increasing has alarmed many people (Mackenzie 2013 4).
Jobs applications, Financial Aid, Public Housing, and food stamps applications often ask for citizen’s criminal records, stigmatizing those who came out of the system, robbing them of opportunities. It’s very hard to find employment, convicts are all treated the same regardless of crime. In The New Jim Crow, the author talks about how young blacks are more likely to go to jail than college due to the system of incarceration. In fact, she cites a source that explains that in 2001, there were more blacks in the Illinois state prison, then there were in the state’s public universities, on drug charges alone. So forty years after the drug war was first declared, it still goes on, normalized by the commentary in media, and stereotypes assigned to those who serve time in correctional facilities.
Many inmates are admitted to prison for parole violations rather then new charges. In result, policymakers might ease back on rules for parole violations. Minor misdemeanors such as not attending meetings or drug tests would have different consequences then jail time. Lawmakers are also discussing alternatives for low level drug offenders Such as drug treatment courts. The government should not have to spend more than $50,000 a year to keep people in prison.
It seems that our nation has a difficult challenge; at least, not at this particular moment. The most up to date information disclose that inmates who are in prison for drug-related charges experience the utmost return rates of all criminal offenders. This data conveys that making drug offenses a criminal problem isn’t working for individuals who are caught up in the justice system. Instead, the 50 states need to approach America’s growing drug problem by allocating resources to drug courts or centers that focus on treatment and prevention rather waste taxpayer money on new
African Americans comprise 31% of individuals arrested for drug violations. In eleven states, at least 1 in 20 black adults are in prison. Research shows that prosecutors are twice as likely to pursue a mandatory minimum sentence for black people as for white people charged with the same crime. One in nine black children and one in 38 Latino children have an incarcerated parent, compared to one in 57 white children. Higher rates of incarceration in minority communities have lead to the destruction of the family
Fewer than one in four drug offenders in federal prison have a serious history qtd (Lopez). Urban Institute Figure 2 above shows a pie graph with more than half of violence among people imprisoned for drug offense has no history at 56% while minorities and serious both have 22%. Not only does prison overcrowding affect the inmates in prison, but the officers too. A psychological consequence with “overcrowding has been known to cause far more stressful situations and has prompted prison officials to react inappropriately on occasion due to being forced to accommodate ill-advised numbers of prisoners.” (Portland State University). Also, overcrowding is a “potentially cruel and unusual punishment” known as double-ceiling which is “Inmates in prisons are required to have a certain amount of space” first addressed in a legal case in
As of September 26, 2015, there is a total of 93,821 inmates in prison for drug offenses, which is equivalent to 48.4 percent of the prison population. The use of illegal narcotics has been an issue within the country for decades; however, is incarceration the way to solve this problem? I think not. During the late 1960’s, poverty was a substantial issue within urban cities and secluded rural areas. On the other hand, recreational drug usage promoted by fashionable young, white Americans as a symbol of social upheaval and youthful rebellion coincided with the deprivation within many of these areas.
Beside restorative justice, mass incarceration acts as another solution to decrease the amount of crime, yet it should be limited. There has been a longstanding debate over the effectiveness of correctional institutions. Some argue that incarceration deters offenders while others argue that the experience of being incarcerated causes individuals to continue in their life of crime. According to Bruce Western, a professor of sociology and director of the Malcolm Wiener Center, the drastically increase amount of incarceration resulted from problems such as harming prisoners, families, and social groups. He indicates, “Black are seven times more likely to be incarcerated than whites, and large racial disparities can be seen for all age groups and
However, is incarceration the answer to who society deems a menace, absolutely not. The overrepresentation of men and women of color, and people incarcerated for drug offenses are the effect of some changes that were made in the list forty years. Most of the people who are in prison are in prison for a reason, and that reason is because of sentencing policy. It is worth mentioning the jail and prison is sometimes the answer, however it should not be the answer for some low-level offenders. The recent laws and policy are the reasons why the prison and jail population have increased, and why people stay for longer.
Under the guise of public safety, law enforcement law and sentencing policies became stringent and tough on crime during the war on drug era. The results only served to increase incarceration rates. According to U.S. Prison Population Trends in 1972 there were roughly 330,000 people in prison and jail (2016) and according to Criminal Justice Facts by 2013 that number had mushroomed to 2.2 million people (n.d.). It was also noted that most of the growth in the prisoner population occurred in vulnerable populations and a disproportionate number of whom were black or Latino. Laws that created the punitive state we have today are enacted laws over 50 years old, which were in reaction to rising crime.