The Incarceration Of The United States Essay

The Incarceration Of The United States Essay

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In 1790, in the United States, was established the first prison, influenced by the religious principles of the Pennsylvania Quakers. This prison was an alternative to capital punishment. Other prisons followed the Pennsylvania system model, and incarceration became the center of the country’s criminal justice system. However, it was not until the 1960s when criminal justice systems started to experience a problem with overcrowded prisons throughout the nation. Overcrowding became a problem since of a “get tough” approach to crime. This approach, for the most part, became obvious in the 1980s when the United States boarded on an “imprisonment binge.” The reasons of the increases in the prison population were due to illegal drug violations and longer sentences (Prisons). Additionally, offenders with mental also increased extremely. In the United States, more mentally ill people in prisons than in mental institutions (Kemp 1063). The problem in the United States is incarcerating too many offenders for drug use or offenders with mental health problems, which creates overcrowding in prisons, recidivism, and cost inefficiency.
There are some options available to treat drug offenders and mental illness. Various studies show that alternatives to imprisonment do work. Better alternatives to incarceration are drug courts where the focus on treatment requirements of drug offenders, community corrections programs, education, and proper management for mentally ill. In order to reduce prison populations and reduce recidivism rates in the US criminal justice system, non-violent drug offenders and those that are mentally ill need to receive treatment for their conditions rather than incarceration.
Throughout the history of the United States, go...


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... in Wilson). Since those programs started, the Texas population in detentions facilities fell by 5,000 inmates, which caused first time in 166 years to close a prison. Additionally, recidivism rate has dropped, which resulted in approximately $3 billion in savings for the state of Texas (Wilson). For this reason, diversion programs do work and improves communities, compare to an endless cycle of criminal acts and violence.
In the United States, in the past few decades, the need for alternative programs has grown tremendously. These sanction programs do work, and they are more cost effective. For reduce recidivism, new systems should be set up to assist ex-offenders when they leave the prison. For that reason, there is much need for developing more programs to help individuals to improve their lives, particularly for ones that have substance abuse or mental illness.

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