Pros And Cons Of Incarceration In America

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“The United States is home to nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners, despite accounting for just 5% of the overall global population” (Wyler). The mass incarceration of US residents is a stain upon our country 's reputation of freedom and liberty. For a supposedly free country with a democratic government it is a great concern that more than one and a half million people are locked up without any rights, only to be released after an extended period of time with a permanent black mark, stripped of all respect or any future potential. The current prison system comes with too great of cost in money for the US and in future opportunities for the inmates. Imprisonment of people requires the necessary funds to support prisons, funds that are…show more content…
Tiana Williams, a student with a thesis in Sociology and African American Studies, brings up factors that seem to be sending many kids into the prison system (Gudrais). She believes that being poor, black, and Hispanic (along with school suspensions) greatly increase your chances of being incarcerated as an adult. She also found that having a low educational attainment and lack of employment opportunities in communities push kids to commit crimes for money (theft-related), seeing as they are not presented with opportunities for their own educational advancement. “The prison walls we built with such industry in the 1980s and ’90s did not keep out the criminal predators,” Bruce Western, a professor of sociology at Harvard Kennedy School, and author of Punishment and Inequality In America, writes, “...but instead divided us internally, leaving our poorest communities with fewer opportunities to join the mainstream and deeply skeptical of the institutions charged with their safety...” Western also suggests that a history in family violence is a key factor in the existence of crime. With parents in jail, children are left either without an influence or chance at childhood, that can lead to a cycle that may direct them to jail time as they…show more content…
According to the NAACP, mandatory minimum sentencing for drug charges should be eliminated. This would substantially decrease the time that prisoners spend in prison for drug related charges. Also, because drug charges make up the majority of non-violent crimes in prison, this would greatly reduce the number of non-violent offenders. According to The Sentencing Project, “Trends in US Correctional Facilities,” 53% of criminals in state prison committed violent crimes and 5.9% of criminals in federal prisons committed violent crimes (Sentencing Project). This shows that almost half of criminals in state prisons and an overwhelming majority of criminals in federal prison did not commit violent crimes. According to the Editorial Division of the New York Times, the government needs to “provide more opportunities for rehabilitation inside prison. Use alternatives to imprisonment for nonviolent offenders, drug addicts and the mentally ill. Release elderly or ill prisoners, who are the least likely to re-offend,” (End Mass Incarceration Now). This article is saying prisoners that have not committed violent crimes should have alternatives to prison time such as drug rehabilitation or other forms of criminal reform. This could keep a large number of people out of

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