Essay On Mass Incarceration

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One of the incontrovertible truths about the criminal justice system is that its effects reach farther than just those individuals who are implicated in crimes. When a person goes into the system, is convicted, and finds himself with a prison sentence, he is removed from his community. This leaves behind a void, and in many cases, it leaves behind a child who depended upon that person for critical support. These are the unintended victims of crime and mass incarceration. The world has been fundamentally changed by mass incarceration, with millions of individuals sitting in prisons today. These children are sometimes handed over to the state, and they are sometimes left in one-parent homes. Occasionally, they are given to relatives who try to raise them in a productive manner. While their individual outcomes can be much different, all of these children share one important characteristic – they lack the ideal parenting situation. Facts suggest that these children are put at a significant disadvantage when it comes to cognitive ability and school performance. Likewise, they are much more likely to suffer from depression and a host of different mental health problems. Lastly, children of incarcerated parents are more likely to commit crimes themselves or get in trouble at school. Because they lack the structure that other children enjoy, they are immediately playing from behind in a society that is increasingly competitive. It is going too far to say that these children are in a hopeless situation. They do have hope, but empirical evidence suggests that these children’s lives are irreparably changed by their situation. This paper will explore this phenomenon, noting the range of different outcomes for these children, the psychological...

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...ny difficulties during the course of their lives. They are left to deal with psychological issues. Just like any child who loses a parent, they have trauma, often suffer from depression, and have questions about why the event happened. The difference, of course, is that children who lose a parent to divorce or early death can get the support and help that they need from professionals. Likewise, parental incarceration creates more instability and poverty, further exacerbating the problems faced by the child. Children who lose parents to incarceration are likely already living in difficult situations. Otherwise, it is unlikely that the parents would have gone to prison in the first place. With the current policies, these children see their lives made significantly harder because of policies that are designed to add to their pain rather than alleviating it.

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