Mass Incarceration Essay

2012 Words9 Pages
The United States of America has the world’s highest incarceration rates, for several reasons. The United States of America doesn’t necessarily possess any unique strict laws in comparison to other countries of the world, yet we still have the highest incarceration rate in the world. More federal level and state level prisons are built in order to control and hold more prisoners because most are reaching its full capacity. The United States of America’s “crime rates” increased about 40 years ago when there became a new focus in the areas of crime. The President of the United States of America at the time Richard Nixon used the term “a war on drugs” in order to shed light on public health due to substance abuse. Initially, these policies created…show more content…
The article provides statistics regarding the amount of people in prison to the demographics of these prisons. Today, “nearly half of all prisoners in state prisons are locked up for nonviolent offenses” (Sledge). This article also provides a video and image with the demographic statistical information. The video is mainly about the amount of people who are supporting the legalization of marijuana and the amount of people incarcerated in the United States of America. In addition, this article explains that the total cost of the drug war including law enforcement, interdiction, international efforts, state level prisons and jails, federal level prisons, and any drug related arrests estimate to approximately $50 billion annually (Sledge). The image provides a visual to the statistics provided and was created by the American Civil Liberties Union based on statistics of the United States of America prison population and its growth. The general argument in the source is that there is too much money being spent on this war and “the punishment falls disportionately on people of color” (Sledge). The source is accurate because of the statistics provided by American prisoners and was created in order to inform people who may have misconceptions about the drug war. In the video, he explained how felons are not in prison for smoking joints of marijuana but rather drug trafficking and distribution. This source can have a major impact if Americans knew how much money went into the war on drugs. In conclusion, the article “The Drug War and Mass Incarceration” by Matt Sledge focused on why the drug war led to mass incarceration in the United States of America and who the drug war affected. The source provided statistics in order to back up the information stated, however this information could have been
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