Incarceration was established to reform the guilty, making them safer for society. However, this system has faced many obstacles. Over the years the incarcerated population has grown significantly. The United States has become the leading country in incarcerated population, creating the mass incarceration epidemic. Mass incarceration meaning that the United States’ prisons are becoming greatly overcrowded. Many issues have risen from mass incarceration due to the obstacles it creates.
When penitentiaries were first established in 1776 by the Pennsylvania Quakers, they had a set plan for how to reform convicts without destroying their name. The basic concept was solitary confinement. When a prisoner was taken to and released from prison, they were blindfolded so they could not be recognized and so they would have no knowledge of where they were. Every prisoner had their own eight by twelve feet cell with a small window. The prisoners were not allowed to communicate with anyone, unless special permission was given to communicate with a visitor. Complete silence was required in the prisons. The confinement’s goal was to create a need for work strong enough that the deprivation of labor was worse than the punishment of prison (Lowenstein).The early prisons eliminated other types of punishment like execution. This system became the center for criminal reform in the late 1700s. In these days of the system, it was effective. No discharged convicts returned to the penitentiary, now known as a jail. However, a lot has changed in the past years. The United States currently has the largest number of imprisoned people in the world. The correctional population has grown by 700 percent since the 1700s, creating the e...
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...before being convicted. Former prisoners also often have problems rebuilding their relationships with loved ones. Incarceration creates problems for the loved ones of an inmate as well as affecting the inmate. If a family chooses to stay in touch with their loved one while they are in prison, they are charged significantly more for collect calls made from the facility. This is the result of many facilities making agreements with telephone companies to charge more. More prisons have also been developed in rural areas, causing families in urban areas to have to travel a great distance to see their loved one. These expenses put extra stress on families.The children of an inmate are also affected. They are five times more likely to be imprisoned sometime in their life than the children of a non-incarcerated parent. Some effects of prison also affect the children’s mental
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