Prisons in America

Prisons in America - Brock 1 Christopher Brock Dr. Dietrich...

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Brock 1 Christopher Brock Dr. Dietrich English 1101 November 1, 2002 Are Prisons in America Serving Their Purpose? What exactly is the purpose of prison? Is it to punish criminals, keep them out of society, or to rehabilitate them? The most common response to this inquiry is “to keep criminals out of society” (Blomberg). However, the ideal response would be to rehabilitate the criminals while they are in prison to prevent them from committing future crimes. The underlying goal of prisons in the United States is reduce crime, but currently in America they are not doing that job; prisons are only curbing the crime until the criminals are freed, in which many of them go back to a life of unlawfulness. There are many reasons why this is so and the most prevalent is the fact that most prisons punish the inmates rather than rehabilitate them; because of this, more and more men and women are being incarcerated, leading to the need for more and more prison space. As America entered the new millennium we culminated the most punishing decade in our nation's history. While the number of persons in jail and prison grew by 462,006 in the seven decades from 1910 to 1980, in the 1990s alone, the number of jail and prison inmates grew by an estimated 816,965. As the millennium turned, America's prison and jail populations approached the 2 million mark… (Jamison). This growing number of prisoners is letting America know that prisons are not serving their purpose, and this increased incarceration rate is connected to many reasons. These many reasons are all contributing factors to the argument that prisons in America are not
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Brock 2 achieving their objectives. If major reforms are made in all of these areas then crime in the United States could very likely drop to levels unheard of in these times. A prison is an institution that should serve to correct people, not punish them, hence why they are sometimes referred to as correctional facilities . Once a person enters prison he/she loses his/her freedom, which in itself is suitable punishment for many offenses. Punishing people by forcing them into less-than-desirable conditions for an unjust period of time only angers them, making them detest “the system,” and in essence, causes many inmates to become repeat offenders when they reenter society (Levitt). To counteract this, however, many states have enacted “Three Strikes and You’re Out” laws, meaning long sentences without parole for those convicted of a third felony offense (Schmertmann). These laws only target repeat offenders though, and those are truly the people that are not suitable to be rehabilitated and released back into society so quickly. According to a recent study by the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average incarceration time in America for a specific crime committed is usually over twice as long as the sentence would be in England for the same crime! (United States Bureau of Justice Statistics). Even parole eligibility is more favorable in England. This matters
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Prisons in America - Brock 1 Christopher Brock Dr. Dietrich...

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