The American Prison System

Good Essays
A comparison between American prison systems and other prison systems around the world shows the massive difference in the way the United States views and handles crime and punishment. When looking at numbers revolving around prison, the public tends to reflect on the amount of people detained and how it seems that crime rates are at such a high. “Since 1991 the rate of violent crime in the United States has fallen by about 20 percent, while the number of people in prison or jail has risen by 50 percent” (Schlosser 54). When reviewing the systematic functions of United States prisons, we overlook the issues that surround prisons across the nation. Issues that not only affect those incarcerated but those who are living on the outside, in addition…show more content…
Since these are usually costly components, visiting a prison can be nearly impossible for many families. This negatively affects a family’s and inmate’s relationship as well as their state of mind and ultimate way of life. The ideal structure of the system is to incarcerate less people and treat those in need of help, though the current system frequently does the opposite. An inmate’s mental health in prison deteriorates as they bear inhumane hardships as well as their physical health. Besides the acknowledged violent outbreaks that occur behind the walls of prisons, an inmate’s physical health is often threatened in other ways. The vast majority of the public recognizes the prevailing violence transpiring in prison but are not aware of the instances when the need for medical treatment is overlooked, or as harsh practices are forced upon inmates. The commonality of medical treatment for inmates being declined is soaring, creating a more perilous environment for inmates in need, in addition to those around them. Because numbers in relevance to the overflow of inmates in prisons of inadequate size are rapidly increasing, one inmate getting sick is a risk to other…show more content…
The amount of rehabilitation provided in prisons is slowly increasing as more light is being shed on the issue. There is no difference between an inmate and a non-offender seeking treatment but the limitations for inmates to receive effective treatment they need are countless. “Sixty to 80 percent of the American inmate population has a history of substance abuse. Meanwhile, the number of drug-treatment slots in American prisons has declined by more than half since 1993” (Schlosser 54). Reflecting on this, an aspect that stands out is the date of 1993. Over twenty-four years ago, a prominent issue regarding rehabilitation for inmates remains the same. Over half of the people incarcerated experience withdrawal from an addiction though prisons turn away when there are clearly people in need. When proper treatment and rehabilitation is denied, inmates with serious addictions or mental disabilities continue to worsen. “About 85 percent [of California prisoners] are substance abusers. Under the terms of their parole, they are subjected to periodic drug tests. But they are rarely offered any opportunity to get drug treatment. Of the approximately 130,000 substance abusers in California’s prisons, only 3,000 are receiving treatment behind bars” (Schlosser 75). It seems mind boggling that although drug tests for parolees are consistently enforced,
Get Access