While the cost of education would cause prisons funding to be increased the return on the investment is valuable. The people who have become edu... ... middle of paper ... ...llows the lowest in our society a chance for a better life. Just because these inmates have made mistakes does not mean that society should damn them and write them off. We must help them to become functioning members of society, for both them and society as a whole. While these reforms would not work for every person who commits a crime they would work for the vast majority.
The prison population in the United States increased nearly five-fold between 1980 and 2009. This growth has a disparate impact on minorities. An estimated 38% of state and federal prison inmates in 2009 were African American inmates, a staggering share when we consider that African Americans comprise only 13% of the US population. It has been demonstrated that disparity is at least partially a product of the "War on Drugs" and sentencing policies that require longer mandatory minimum stays in prison for low-level, drug-related offenses and offenses committed while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. (American Journal of Public Health, June 2013) A State prison in Elmira, New York the population is 1,775 inmates where 50% are African Americans, 32% are Hispanics and the remaining inmates are white.
In 1814 Francis Scott Key described America as “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Does that still hold true today? The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population, yet houses roughly a quarter of the world’s prisoners. That means it has 751 people in jail for every 100,000 in population. If you only count adults one in every 100 Americans is locked up. In 2012 the U.S. spent 677,856,000 billion dollars on national defense, that’s nearly 7.5 times the amount spent on education.
In the United States, the rate of incarceration has increased shockingly over the past few years. In 2008, it was said that one in 100 U.S. adults were behind bars, meaning more than 2.3 million people. Even more surprising than this high rate is the fact that African Americans have been disproportionately incarcerated, especially low-income and lowly educated blacks. This is racialized mass incarceration. There are a few reasons why racialized mass incarceration occurs and how it negatively affects poor black communities.
The racial disparities in imprisonment have been felt the most by young African American males (Western and Pettit 2010). Males are a significant majority of the prison and jail populations, accounting for around ninety percent of the population (Western and Pettit 2010). Racial disparities in incarceration are astounding when one counts the men who have been incarcerated in their lifetime rather than those serving time on any given day (Western and Pettit 2002). For instance, in 1989, approximately two percent of white men in their early thirties had been in prison compared to thirteen percent of African American men in their early thirties (Western and Pettit 2002). These extreme racial disparities disproportionately affect communities of color and have significant collateral effects such as family stress and dissolution,
American prisons house some two million people, in a system originally designed to rehabilitate them. Nothing could be further from the truth in this day and age. Let’s start with a breakdown of the people who make up this minority group in America. As recent as 2009, non-Hispanic blacks constitute 39.4%, which includes 841,000 males and 64,800 females (“United States incarceration rate,” 2014). That means that they make up nearly 45% of the entire prison population.
During the last 20 years, the homicide rate in states with the death penalty has been 48%-101% higher than in states without the death penalty. There are many more studies that show where the death penalty exists, there is a higher murder rate. According to statistics from the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report, regions of the country that use the death penalty the least are the safest for police officers. Police are most in danger in the South, which accounts for 80% of all executions (90% in 2000). From 1989-1998, 292 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the South, 125 in the West, 121 in the Midwest, and 80 in the Northeast, the region with the fewest executions.
In 1999, the juvenile male arrest rate for all violent crimes was 4.5 times more than the crime rate for females. Even though the crime rate has fallen from it peak in 1995, it is still significantly higher than its low in 1983. Between 1980 to present, the juvenile crime rate has increased by over 62 percent for violent crimes. (violent crimes include the following: murder, manslaughter, rape, and robbery). Since 1995 the overall crime rate for people under 17 has dropped by 39 percent.
15.2% of women suffered from depression. What the study found was only 23.5% of all women prisoners with mental illness or disorder were reserving some from of treatment. The study compared health care treatment between male and female prisons with mental illnesses or disorders, females received significantly fewer mental health care services (23.5% vs. 35.5%) when the same study was conducted with men prisoners with mental disorders (Teplin, Abram & McClelland, 1997). Overpopulation in prison and privatized prisons has been on the increase in the last decade. Since 2000, the population in prisons in the United States has increased to 15% while the over all population has only increased at 6.4%.
Rather, instead of killing them, put them to work, so that the remainder of their lives might be spent contributing to society so as to try and replace the life they took by producing as much as two people do. The final verdict on this topic, then, should not be one of support for the death penalty, but rather of opposition to it. It is more expensive, it is less effective, and above all, it is wrong. To continue to allow the death penalty is to continue to allow the states to wander around blind in search of a greater good for itself and its citizens.