Essay Long Sentencing And Mass Incarceration

Essay Long Sentencing And Mass Incarceration

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In addition to long sentencing and mass incarceration, overcrowding is caused by the Truth in Sentencing Act. Although it is similar to long prison sentences, the Truth in Sentencing Act of 1984 makes it more difficult for prisoners to get out of prison early, thus creating overcrowding. This law demanded that prisoners must serve at least 85% of their initial prison sentence. Although not all states follow this, most do require that a prisoner spends a mandatory percentage of time in prisons (Mauer). This forces people to stay in prison longer without options for early release programs. Early release programs are often better for prisoners because it allows them to make an attempt at living their lives and allows them to try and become a useful part of society, and a part of their home community. Although it can be beneficial for some inmates to serve that much time, for most this is not the case. Many feel that the Truth in Sentencing Act was created without thought on how it may affect the capacity of the prisons. According to Mauer, “The federal guidelines are a prime example of this, since they were developed without a significant concern for prison capacity.” This signifies that the Truth in Sentencing Act was created without consideration toward the number of inmates that would stay in prison longer as new inmates are admitted at the same time. Forcing people to stay in prisons for a mandatory 85% of their sentence has an enormous effect on how many prisoners we have versus the amount of space for them. This lack of consideration is yet another factor of which leads to this growing problem in America. What needs to be done is an increase in the programs that help relieve those of their sentences sooner.
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... middle of paper ... for them to find employment, and can be more difficult for them to start their lives over due to their criminal record. If an inmate can receive an education while in prison they have a better chance of getting hired and being able to “catch up” to society. According to Roy Pinto, the vice president of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association, states that supplying prisoners with the education to receive a GED is often better for the prisoners, and he also expresses “…you’d be surprised at how many people in prison can’t read or write; if you can’t read or write you can’t support yourself honestly” (Katel 296). If prisoners cannot read or write, when they are released from prison it is likely they will be seriously unable to find a job and support themselves to the point where crime is their only option again and they relapse into criminal behavior.

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