The War on Drugs also contributed massively to high incarceration rates. New York, who has mostly ended their War on Drugs, have seen incarceration numbers plummet. In Oklahoma however, drug offenders share about 30 percent of their prison population. Ending the War on Drugs will not end mass incarceration alone. The federal government and a handful of states have successfully reduced their incarcerated populations by reforming their drug policies, and these can also work with other policies as
I believe we can bring about change in the prison system by changing the way we punish people who do commit crimes and focusing more on actual rehabilitation. In 1972, former President Richard Nixon made his infamous statements regarding crime and drug abuse. In this speech, he declared a war on crime and drugs and intended to decrease the number of people using drugs and the amount of crimes that were committed. Since this declaration, incarceration rates in the U.S. have gone up by 500%, even though the amount of crime happening has gone down. One of the reasons why I feel our rates have risen, is because sometimes, we put people in jail when they don’t need to be there in the first place.
With all of the issues the government must worry about, prison overcrowding should not be one of them. The lazy and effortless attempts of the justice system that resulted in the outstanding number of people inside prisons is overbearing. There needs to be a change. Mandatory sentencing laws, lack of awareness and inhumane treatment of prisoners is unjust. For society to progress, new laws must be passed, recognition must happen, and action needs to take place.
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.
Since the courts are backlogged and many public defenders and judges being overworked, this causes plea bargaining to be used repeatedly. According to Walker et al. (2018), plea bargaining leaves many people no option but to plea guilty even when this is not their best option. This is due to a multitude of reasons but mainly to receive a lesser charge. For example, a felony and little time in jail may be better than risking multiple felonies and an excessive amount of time in jail.
This sparked a height in incarceration rates, especially those of black men. Through the system, Alexander believes we have pushed people into second class status, and therefore our criminal justice system remains unfair. The fifth theme is due to the lying, manipulation, subterfuge, and obfuscation of the American people. Alexander (2012), believes that from day one we have been lied to by our government. The war on drugs pushed people into fear, and therefore manipulated law enforcement to go after people of color.
What are your thoughts about the prison system? Today 's prisons are so bad that prisons in the United States hold 5 percent of the US population. Many people get sent to jail cause of the 3 law strike because a lot of minorities are caught with drugs. Plus the government is wasting 75 billion dollars on these facilities instead of using the money in a better way like making programs for the prisoners that need help with mental health or other stuff. The first step is for a better State and Federal Representation in the Government.
In Figure 1, we saw that there was a decline in arrests in 1988 and then a slow increase during the mid-1990s. This was the results that I was expecting because growing up I felt that there was an increase in public awareness on drugs and the militarization of police forces to combat drugs and punish those who were involved in the distribution of drugs.
Data from The Sentencing Project shows that “African Americans use drugs at a 9.7% rate. This is considerably higher compared to 8.1% for whites and 7.6% for Hispanics” (King., Mauer, p.18, 2007). This is one of the reasons why African Americans are a primary target when it comes to drug policies and sentencing laws. This makes this group more inclined to be arrested compared to other races. Especially because, “African Americans make up 14% of the nation’s monthly drug users, they also represent 37% of individuals arrested for a drug offense, and 56% represent individuals in state prison for a drug conviction” (King., Mauer, p.20, 2007).
These policies were initiated by former President Ronald Regan and enforced throughout the 1980s – early 2000s, when George Bush Jr became president he reformed prisons with programs to help the formerly incinerated blend back in with the community. These programs help provide jobs for ex-cons and inanition made rehabilitation for drug offenders. During The “war on drugs” era individuals would get simply arrested for small crimes such as possession of drugs, using drugs, or distributing drugs, which did not help reduce crime or lower the recidivism rate. “War on drug” created an over populated prisons. What race was dominantly contained in these over populated prisons were African Americans.
Prison cells have changed in the past couple years to withstand rust or mold from disturbing or breaking the iron bars. The second most important improvement was the treatment of inmates/prisoners. The prisoners have changed a lot in the past century or so because they have developed a new way for entertainment or pleasure. That was sexual humiliation of what the prisoners did to each other. Other than pleasure they have gotten more dangerous because in prison, criminals have records that have skulls or stars that show how dangerous they are.
Those in the diversion program had recidivism rates as low as 36%; this compares to the group who were given jail time with a recidivism rate of 54% (Parsons, Wei, Henrichson, Drucker, & Trone, 2015). In terms of public safety, only 3% of individuals who were involved in treatment programs committed violent crimes after treatment; this number doubles for those who were sentenced to jail and prisons. New York has made the necessary changes to start viewing The War on Drugs and its influence on Mass Incarceration as not only a criminal justice issue but also now a mental health and public health problem. From the beginning, stakeholders saw the flaws and have spent about 36 years working out the issues. The reform is a good stepping stone toward a more just system, but just as the original Rockefeller drug Laws had their issues, the new reforms will have issues that will be worked out through the years to
In the article “Prosecutors Fight to Plan to Lower Drug Sentencing “ by Sari, Horwitz (1) shows how government officials are trying to cut back on the amount of long term sentencing for first time offenders. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is one of the individuals who has been trying to reduce the ever growing prison problem. Holder is after the prisoners who are in for non-violent crimes and reduce sentencing for defendants in most most drug cases. He has been struggling with district attorneys and federal prosecutors nationwide. Some of the people who are opposing the bill think it is crucial when it comes to breaking up drug cartels.
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.
In addition to that there are more things that need to be changed within prison institutions. For example, solitary confinement should be one of the main things the people and government push to put an end to because of the emotional and physical stress it puts people through.Just by seeing the emotional toll spending 9 days in a prison did to these normal people we can now see that clearly there are things that need to be changed. Not only should this experiment not have been done, the people shouldve been told what they were getting themselves