Prison Overcrowding: Arizona's Mandatory Sentencing System

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In 1971, 1 out of 12 Americans were incarcerated. Since that time, the prisoner ratio has exponentially increased; today, that ratio is 1 out of 51. With that number continuing to rise, many problems result out of it. Prison overcrowding is a growing problem in the United States. The number of people being taken in has regressive effects on the purpose behind imprisonment. Though the prisoners are not there for a comfortable and enjoyable stay, ethical rights are being ignored. How can a someone carry out their sentence rightfully if the focus is taken away from them and put on the judgment of the courts and justice system? Prison overcrowding is without a doubt problematic and inhumane. The mandatory sentencing laws, lack of attention on …show more content…

Within that statistic, most of the imprisoned are non-violent offenders. The problem starts with Arizona’s mandatory imprisonment laws. Research highlights that, “under Arizona's mandatory sentencing system, non-violent offenders make up the majority of state prisoners” (Greene). However, the mandatory sentencing does not just affect Arizona’s population. All across America, mandatory sentencing laws are forcing people to be put into prisons without a second thought. These laws were initiated in the 1970’s and put into action in the 1980’s. Ronald Reagan made these laws after initiating a war on the production, sale, and usage of illegal drugs. These laws insist on 5 years in prison for the first drug related felony, 10 years for the next felony sentencing, and 25 to life for the third felony. A process known as the three strikes rule. This campaign for the war on drugs has dragged out into current times. The placement of so many people into prisons for general, popular, frequent non-violent crimes has lead to such an extravagant number of people inside the walls used to punish people of horrific …show more content…

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. Prison overcrowding must come to an end.

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