Diminishing Poverty and Racial Discrimination so as to Decrease Incarceration Rates

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The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, incarcerating 1 in 100 people. With such rates one would expect United States to have the lowest rates of crime in the world, however crime still exists in the United States. It is undeniable that something is being done incorrectly. The United States is either incarcerating the wrong people, or incarcerating individuals for minor crimes and not those who actually commit major crimes. United States’ high incarceration rates show no progress in diminishing crime, this might be because the solution to ending crime is not putting more people in jail but instead finding a way to keep individuals off of streets, while diminishing poverty, and racial discrimination.
Crime is the action of committing an illegal act, whether it be delinquency, kidnapping, murdering, or any minor wrongdoing. Sociologists use three theoretical explanations to define why crime occurs. The individual-level explanation, the social structure explanation, and the interactive explanation (Becken 2013). There are two aspects of the individual-level explanation, the biological and the psychological/psychoanalytical. The biological level uses contemporary neuroscience to explain crime, while the psychoanalytical uses Freud and personality theories to explain serial killers, and abusers. The social structure explanation is defined by two theories, one which states that society needs crime to define normal “us” vs. “them” to build social cohesion, and the other states that courts and laws protect the rich and punish the poor to help maintain economic growth (Durheim et al via Becken 2013). Interactive explanations state that people commit crime because of their community and opportunity for crime (...

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...oled and disminished. The solution to stopping crime isn’t simply increasing incarceration rates, there are problems of greater importance that need to be solved before the solution to stopping crime is found. Although crime does not solely consist of drugs, the consumption and distribution of drugs is one of the top reasons as to why so many individuals are in jail. Therefore helping those in neighborhoods of low income stay off the streets, away from the bad influences is crucial. As a nation we must find a way to decrease poverty throughout the country, help individuals stay off the streets. We can start by providing individuals of low income with equal education opportunities, programs which will help individuals focus on learning or sports rather than selling drugs on the street or being involved in gangs. In doing so we can start attacking crime at its source.

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