Pros And Consequences Of Incarceration

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In 2010, more than $80 billion were spent on corrections by the United States at all three levels of government. Ninety percent of these expenditures were spent at the state and local levels (Kyckelhahn and Martin 2013). These exorbitant expenditures pay for the supervision, incarceration, and rehabilitation of adults and juveniles convicted of offenses against the law, as well as those in prison waiting to go to trial and then sentencing (Kyckelhahn, 2013). Incarceration, the practice aimed at preventing individuals from committing additional crimes, affects society in many, many ways. Research has shown that incarceration tends to negatively affect employment opportunities for those who have been in prison, increase the likelihood that they…show more content…
Taxpayers had to bear the additional costs of more than $11 million to house inmates for this extra time. These exorbitant expenses and delayed sentencing cause law enforce-ment officials and policy makers to continue to seek ways to dramatically reduce the number incarcerated and develop effective means to correct offender behavior and reduce the incarceration rate.
With 2.4 million people incarcerated, America has the highest rate of imprisonment in the world (Herivel and Wright, 2003) with 60% jailed for nonviolent offenses (Schmitt, Warner, and Gupta, 2010). The cost of imprisonment throughout the world is $62.5 billion; much of this expense could be reduced with diversion programs for non-violent offenders (Center for Prison Reform, 2015).
The goal of diversion programs is to reduce incarceration costs and lessen the number of prisoners. As a result, diversion programs should be used for individuals who would be sent to prison regardless, not for those who would not face charges and then be released. Diversion programs began in the United States in 1947 when the Judicial Conference of the United States encouraged courts to place selected juveniles under probation instead of prosecution. In the 1960s, Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, and New York enacted legislation to allow adults to enter diversion programs instead of imprisonment (Center for Health and Justice,
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had 80 diversion laws and 298 diversion programs, but the number of federal pretrial diversion cases decreased25 from 2,716 cases in 1999 to 1,426 in 200826. Most diversion programs are small with an average annual budget of only $150,000 – a budget supported by local county fees and client fees27. Statewide pretrial diversion programs are funded by each state’s Administrative Office of the Courts, the state probation department, community corrections agencies, or non-profit organizations.
Diversion programs have proven to be highly effective in steering offenders away from future crime and rehabilitating them into productive citizens. Those who break the law and complete a diversion program are less likely to spend time in prison, have received more effective treatment, and have used fewer drugs for as long as 12 months after their crime.28 Diversion frequently reduces jail time for offenders in the year after their offense from 40 to 173 days on average. Juvenile offenders experienced 25% less recidivism when completing diversion
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