Essay about The Flaws of Incarceration in America

Essay about The Flaws of Incarceration in America

Length: 1359 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The United States has a larger percent of its population incarcerated than any other country. America is responsible for a quarter of the world’s inmates, and its incarceration rate is growing exponentially. The expense generated by these overcrowded prisons cost the country a substantial amount of money every year. While people are incarcerated for a number of reasons, the country’s prisons are focused on punishment rather than reform, and the result is a misguided system that fails to rehabilitate criminals or discourage crime. The ineffectiveness of the United States’ criminal justice system is caused by mass incarceration of non-violent offenders, racial profiling, and a high rate of recidivism.
The majority of prisoners incarcerated in America are non-violent offenders. This is due mainly to mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which is a method of prosecution that gives offenders a set amount of prison time for a crime they commit if it falls under one of these laws, regardless of their individual case analysis. These laws began in the 1980s, when the use of illegal drugs was hitting an all time high (Conyers 379). The United States began enacting legislature that called for minimum sentencing in an effort to combat this “war on drugs.” Many of these laws give long sentences to first time offenders (Conyers). The “three strikes” law states that people convicted of drug crimes on three separate occasions can face life in prison. These laws were passed for political gain, as the American public was swept into the belief that the laws would do nothing other than help end the rampant drug crimes in the country. The laws are still in effect today, and have not succeeded to discourage people from using drugs. Almost fifty percent...

... middle of paper ...

... America's Prisons. Noah Berlatsky. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Sentencing Laws Are Senseless." Arizona Daily Star 2 Mar. 2008. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.
Justice Policy Institute. "Drug Treatment Programs Are a Viable Alternative to Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences." Mandatory Minimum Sentencing. Ed. Margaret Haerens. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Effective Investments in Public Safety." 2008. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.
Martensen, Kayla. "The Price That US Minority Communities Pay: Mass Incarceration And The Ideologies That Fuel Them." Contemporary Justice Review 15.2 (2012): 211-222. Academic Search Premier. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.
Pitock, Todd. "Jailhouse Blues." Saturday Evening Post 285.1 (2013): 44. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Flawed Prison System of America Essay

- The Unites States of America’s prison system is a flawed mess. To open the eyes of our government we must first take a stand against unlawful government decisions, and show support for the greater good of society. What are our own tax-dollars paying for, what are the flaws in the justice/prison system, why is overcrowding in prisons causing tension, and what are ways our society and government can rebuild the system that has been destroyed over the years. Most criminals in prisons are not a danger to our society because they commit crimes just to use jail as a shelter, causing the overcrowding of prisons and wasting away of what we really should be paying for....   [tags: flaws in the penitentiary, government policy]

Strong Essays
1045 words (3 pages)

Essay about The Incarceration Of Prison Education

- Inmates who took part in correctional facility education programs have a “43% lower odds of recidivating than inmates who did not” (Peterson et al.). This represents a reduction of 13 percentage points on the risk of recidivism. The average cost for an inmate is $60,000 and taxpayers pay an average of $60 billion a year for prisons. The sad reality is that prisons disproportionately affect minorities, and minorities have less of an advantage as white people. If the states fund prison education and universities within the states also provide support then this will directly affect recidivism....   [tags: Prison, Penology, Recidivism, Criminal justice]

Strong Essays
1986 words (5.7 pages)

The United States Of America Essay

- The United States of America is a primary example of the idea that even the greatest things have their own flaws. The United States is known to be one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world. Yet as a nation we still have many of our own flaws. We are not the number one country in education or health. We don’t even provide all our citizens with health care coverage unlike many European countries such as Denmark. The one thing that we’re better at than other countries is putting people in prison....   [tags: Crime, Criminology, Sociology, Gang]

Strong Essays
1263 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about America Needs Alternatives to Incarceration

- Clyde is your average American; he is a hardworking family man who tries to do everything in his power to make his family live happily. Due to the recent economic plunge he has lost his job and his wife is not making enough to feed their family. Feeling worthless and desperate to help his suffering family, Clyde decided to rob his neighbor. It was an unarmed theft of under $250; unfortunately Clyde was caught and sentenced to serve 1 year in the County Prison. Clyde never wanted to do it and was very uncomfortable doing it, but he thought it would help his family and allow them to go one more month with food on the table....   [tags: Time To End Mass Incarceration]

Strong Essays
2829 words (8.1 pages)

Essay about Think Rise Of The Warrior Cop : The Militarization Of America 's Police

- think Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces, by Radley Balko, should be required reading in any government class because it offers a perspective that cannot be found in any other place and it introduces students to alternative views on the government, law, and morality. I think it is very useful because at the very least it will make the reader think, which should be encouraged before it is also made illegal. This book is his most cited work, and the one he is best known for authoring....   [tags: Police, SWAT, Criminal justice, Constable]

Strong Essays
1226 words (3.5 pages)

The Incarceration Of The United States Essay

- The United States has the highest prison rate in the world at 724 per 100,000 people are incarcerated.(Borowski) With the immense number of criminals incarcerated, one would assume that the countries crime rate is extremely low. But, because a majority of these inmates are incarcerated for non-violent crimes, it is still embarrassingly high. On the other hand, there is no evidence or valid argument that the crime rate would be lowered if there was a mass release of incarcerated criminals. In fact, it is reasonable to suggest that the United States crime rate would rise if these criminals were released....   [tags: Prison, Crime, Incarceration, Recidivism]

Strong Essays
1514 words (4.3 pages)

Jury Nullification and Its Effects on Black America Essay

- Jury Nullification and Its Effects on Black America      It is obvious that significant improvements have been made in the way that the criminal justice system deals with Blacks during the history of the United States. Blacks have not always been afforded a right to trial, not to mention a fair one. Additionally, for years, Blacks were unable to serve on juries, clearly affecting the way both Blacks and whites were tried. Much of this improvement has been achieved through various court decisions, and other improvements have been made through federal and state legislatures....   [tags: Criminal Justice System Racism Essays]

Strong Essays
3907 words (11.2 pages)

America 's Highest Incarceration Rates Essay

- 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....   [tags: United States, Race, Black people, White American]

Strong Essays
2012 words (5.7 pages)

Essay The Need for Change: The Harmful Effects of the Foster Care System

- One of the biggest misconceptions that we have in our country is that foster care is a great thing; well, it’s not. There are so many flaws in our foster care system to even consider it a good idea. With constant reports of abuse, depression, lack of stability, to even the terrible after effects of the foster care system, like homelessness and incarceration; the foster care system hurts more than it helps. Our foster care system is bad for America, but most of all, our children. Chronic abuse and neglect is a huge part of the foster care system....   [tags: chronic abuse, neglect, america, orphans, kids]

Strong Essays
910 words (2.6 pages)

Parental Incarceration Essay

- “Parental incarceration affects a large number of children” (La Vigne, Davies & Brazzell, 2008, p.i). “Most of {which} are young, low income, black or Hispanic” (La Vigne et al 2008). The number of children under the age of eighteen, with parents in U.S. prisons, State and Federal, is rapidly increasing as a result of incarceration being used as a criminal penalty (Waldman & Hercik, 2002). Children whose parents are incarcerated, constitute one of the largest at-risk population in the U.S....   [tags: Parental incarceration, incarceration, parenting, ]

Free Essays
389 words (1.1 pages)