The United States Prison System Essays

The United States Prison System Essays

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The United States prison systems exists as a means to incarcerate those who have been found guilty of a crime. Over the history of the penal system, there has been much debate about the purpose of prison, whether it should be to punish or rehabilitate the offender. In the mid 1970 's the penal system took a punitive turn towards punishment, rather than rehabilitation of prisoners, and continues to punish those found guilty, rather than rehabilitate (Benson, 2003). This becomes a major problem since the United States has the highest number of inmates in the world, housing over 2 million offenders under federal and state jurisdictions, and at least 5 million more under supervision of probation or parole (Mukamal, 2006). More than 95% of these prisoners will be released into the community at some point, with the penal system releasing approximately 650,000 offender 's each year, averaging 10,000 prisoner 's per week being freed from federal and state prisons (Mukamal, 2006). Two-thirds of offenders released from prison will face re-arrest within three years (Mukamal, 2006). Only one-third of all prisoners who are released, receive any type of educational of vocational training, while in prison, and while three quarters of all prisoners abuse drugs or alcohol, only one forth of them receive any type of substance abuse help once released from prison (Wikoff, Linhorst, & Morani, 2012).
Those who are incarcerated, require help to transition back into society once released, rather than being left to face the transition alone. Most re-entry programs focus on one or two necessities for the prisoner after release. Rather than helping the whole person, the programs fall short by way of offering such a focused help. The question is:...


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...ny form of program assistance after release, or not, and the main dependant variable was whether particpants committed new crimes (Wikoff, Linhorst, & Morani, 2012). The study showed that at the end of the program, 20.3% of the non-particpants committed a new crime, and the particpants had a 7.4% recidivism rate (Wikoff, Linhorst, & Morani, 2012). The results also found that those with subastance abuse problems, and less than a high school education, were more likely to commit new crimes, ultimately showing that almost 1.5 with less than high school diplomas commited new crimes (Wikoff, Linhorst, & Morani, 2012). Offering such a study to offendors shows that with a helping hand, making a plan, and offering extra money upon release, most will get back on track. If this is true, what happens to those who are released from prison, can only find jobs with minimal pay?

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