Criminal Rehabilitation In The United States Justice System

2028 words - 9 pages

Nationally, every 7 minutes, another person enters prison. And every 14 minutes, someone returns to the streets, beaten down and, more often than not, having suffered a great amount of violence during his or her incarceration. Professionals will tell you that incarceration really does very little to stop crime, but we go on spending billions of dollars in order to lock up more and more people. We have become the country with the highest incarceration rate in the industrialized world. (National Criminal Justice Commission)

This quote from Dave Kelly shows many of the issues with the United State’s criminal justice system today. The prison population is increasing because prisoners are being taken in at a higher rate than they are released. Also these prisons have become dangerous; inmates are exposed to a great deal of violence inside prison walls. These problems do not result from stingy spending on the prisons, which can be seen from the billions of dollars that are thrown at prisons to keep U.S. citizens locked up. This dangerous and inefficient system must be reformed for the benefit of U.S. citizens that are involved in them whether through paying taxes or being in these prisons. Although the fear of punishment deters crime, United States criminal justice systems should focus on rehabilitation.

In its past, the United States justice system has focused on punishment and imprisonment and improving its ability to do so. Crime in the United States has generally been responded to with punishment and large amounts of imprisonment. This has resulted in an imprisonment rate currently standing at nearly 720 prisoners per every 100,000 citizens (“People, not prisoners”). To supply enough room for all these prisoners, approximately two million prison cells have been added across the nation (Weissmueller). This massive amount of imprisonment has resulted in a lower crime rate in the nation, but rather than fixing the problem of criminal behaviour, this high imprisonment method has only shoved the problem in the closet. Alternatives need to be looked at in order to find a true solution to this problem.

As the imprisoned population in the United States grows and American culture changes, rehabilitation is becoming popular among these alternatives to a standard prison system. Rehabilitation when referring to criminal justice are programs and methods used to assist prisoners in reforming themselves in order to avoid the habits that placed them in prison in the first place. These programs are becoming more popular due to the high cost of imprisonment and a change in American culture. Each prisoner costs forty thousand dollars each year to keep in prison(Weissmueller). This is money that is coming out of the taxes paid by United States citizens who aren’t even in the prison system. Alongside this, American culture is changing to be supporting of rehabilitation efforts as Americans see the effectiveness of criminal justice systems that include it....

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