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.
The high incarceration rate of Black Americans has pervasive and chronically negative stigmas regarding the social and economic vitality of the Black American community, such as a lack of democratic participation and violence within urban communities (Burris-Kitchen & Burris, 2011). According to Forman Jr. (2012), some of 5 the negative affects of systemic racism of Black Americans born into the hip-hop generation who have been convicted include the ineligibility of public assistance programs such as health care, food stamps, public housing, student loans, and some employment opportunities. Additionally, many of the individuals suffering from the stigma of incarceration come from backgrounds of disadvantage such as single parent homes, low
In the article “Even Prisoners Must Have Hope”, Richard Stratton (the author) talks about his thoughts on the federal prison system in America. Stratton himself had served 8 years in jail for smuggling marijuana. He strongly advises not to make the prisons even worse than they already are. The harsh conditions and other peoples’ vengeful attitudes toward criminals only make the violence and crime continue. According to Stratton, instead of improving the harsh conditions and trying to rehabilitate and help prisoners that could lead to peace, our society inflicts more pain and punishment, enforcing a violent cycle.
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.
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. There are several different ways to effectively reduce crime other than these two strategies, such as reforming certain policies
More people get incarcerated for non-violent crimes and crimes caused by mental illnesses or drug abuse (Webb, 2009) and because these people get put in regular prisons, instead of in mental health facilities or facilities to help against drug addiction, where they could be treated to further prevent crimes driven by their illness (Webb, 2009), the prisons get overfilled and cannot hold the more ‘important’ prisoners that needed to be locked away from the public. A strong link of the criminal justice process is that the system tries to keep it fair for everyone. Every defendant has the right to an attorney so they can be defended properly and fairly and “Only judges who are adequately informed about a case can effectively control the proceedings and examine evidence” (Tochilovsky, 2002) It is also important for the criminal justice system that those involved show discretion and although this is not always the case, discretion by the judges, police, etc.
In the United States of America, there are many systems throughout the government. There is the Department of Health, Department of education, and many more to be listed. One system that often causes controversy is the Department of Correction, this department always raises the question; does our jail/correction system work? The correctional system has flaws and gives some result, however, there are more cases than not that prove the correctional system needs a great deal of improvement. Due to the living conditions and the activity inside of the United States prisons the prison system is looked at as dysfunctional. However, the United States has one of the best rehabilitation techniques and facilities in the world. Rehabilitation is the aspect of the United States correctional system that keeps it from being completely looked down on.
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.
There is disagreement in society about how the purpose of the prison system should be considered. On one hand, the regulations of the prison system may seek deterrence, incapacitation, or retribution to avoid appearing too soft on inmates. On the other hand, the regulations of the prison system may seek to opportunities to re-socialize prisoners or to effect changes in the character, attitudes,
Many people, before reading this article, might not have been aware of the rapid increase of incarceration rates and the overcrowding issue. This appeals to the reader’s sense of logic by stating that the vast majority of them are nonviolent because it shows them that that is where the overcrowding issue resides. This gets the readers thinking that alternative ways of dealing with nonviolent offenders might be necessary to solving the issue in the criminal justice system. Zuckerman makes the reader understand that reforming the prison system is a reasonable solution to the many problems generated by non-violent offenders being imprisoned. Not only does the author make the reader aware of the issue, but he provides a logical solution for it.
With the failure of the rehabilitation programs, the United States had to turn to the retribution model of punishment. Also at the turn of the decade into the 80’s, The War on Drugs kick started the epidemic of prison overcrowding, and launched America into a downward plunge of economic and political turmoil. The mandatory minimum sentencing policy that was in place did not help the situation either, giving long incarceration sentences to prisoners who didn’t deserve it. Criminals were given the minimum sentences for crimes, and judges carried them out precisely. Race and poverty were also side contributors that contributed to the bigger picture of the issue.
In the developing world, incarceration goes beyond the idea of applying a just punishment upon the offender for committing a criminal action or following a destructive behavior that disturb the public interest and the stability of the community. Incarceration also holds the responsibility to prepare the offender to integrate with the community after he goes out. This rehabilitation should be done on healthy bases that assure the mental health of the offender.
Those who find themselves sentenced to time in a penitentiary, jail, or prison are at risk of either being broken or strengthened by the time they spend behind bars. There is a great debate of whether or not the prison system in the United States is positive or negative. The following will briefly highlight the positives, negatives, and possible alternatives for our nation's prison system.
Incarceration refers to the constitutional deprivation of an offender the capacity to commit crimes by detaining them in prisons. The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any free nation. The U.S incarcerates five times more people than the United Kingdom, nine times more than Germany and twelve times more than Japan (Collier, 2014, p.56). Incarceration has several objectives. One of these is to keep persons suspected of committing a crime under secure control before a court of competent jurisdiction determines whether they are guilty or innocent. Incarceration also punishes offenders by depriving them of their liberty once the court of law has convicted. Moreover, incarceration deters criminals from committing further crimes
developed—the first institution in which men were both “confined and set to labor in order to learn the habits of industry” (LeBaron, 2012, p.331). Although prisons had been designed to enforce and promote punishment, retribution and deterrence, they have also fallen into the conceptual belief that they were in many instances, nothing more than a sweat shop for the socially-undesired. At this point in history, there was very little reform and an immense lack of regulation for prisons or for the proper way they should be ran.