Prison and Treatment Alternatives

Prison is a punishment given to someone who has broken the law. Prison term is given to an individual who has broken the law from doing so again and to discourage other people by his example. It has been used as a punishment in many countries for many years. The amount of criminals has never decreased; it has only increased through the years. In United States between 1992 and 1995, a 43 percent rise in marijuana arrests and other crime were accompanied by a considerably high increase in crime (Schlosser 90-102). Prisons does not solve the problem of crime (only in rare cases), instead it has just done the following three things according to criminologist Norval Morris and David Rothman: "They provide a dumping ground for unwanted people, follow the ancient image of justice as a scale and they signify to the public that Something Has Been Done". A public headline puts in "Crime Keeps on Falling but Prisons keeps on filling" (New York Times Section 4). Prison is a punishment that uses a large budget. Prison use of the welfare system is very expensive. The amount of money that is used for incarceration1 according to the CSC (Correctional Services of Canada) is an estimated 50 thousand dollars annually per prisoner. Prison is a very ineffective way of preventing crime and stopping it from increasing. The record of crime rate increasing in Netherlands between 1950 and 1970 has increased by 300 percent (Hulsmans, unpublished interview, 1995). Prisons keep on growing, but the crime rate is never lowering. A solution that has saved money, reform offender2, prevents future crime and sends out a better message to society are treatments programs. Treatment programs are mainly different curriculum such as Drug court program or rehabilita...

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...y testing and treatment are effective. I have seen drug courts work. I know they will make a difference” (naiveprogram.tripod; National Association of Drug Court Professionals). Sending the criminal to prison will give them a very strenuous and painful experience for a period of time, but as soon as the time is up they will be back at their crime (leading to recidivism). Not all criminals are repugnant, only the ones that are corrupted. The others that believe that they can change and not do a crime again are not repugnant. Criminal may be a criminal, but at the end they are humans too.

Works Cited


-Canadian Corrections

-Canadian Criminology

-Juvenile Crime

-The Expanding Prison

-The Canadian Criminal Justice System

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