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Prison Reform Essay

943 words - 4 pages

When evaluating our nation’s federal prison system, there seems to be no apparent benefits to any parties involved. What is the purpose of federal prisons? Surely not to drain taxpayers in order to provide for faulty rehabilitation, over-population, and authoritative corruption…right? Unfortunately, this seems to be our present standings. Somehow, our government is able to stand by and justify this inadequate system by claiming that this is the cost of upholding safe and secure communities.
It seems as though the prison system can’t even get a hold on their primary function, seeing that “two-thirds of prisoners reoffend within three years of leaving prison” (Gilligan). While placing ...view middle of the document...

The New York Times’ Editorial Board discusses this disparity in the editorial “Sentenced to a Slow Death” (2013). The Board makes a strong appeal to ethos in stating that even “Judges, bound by mandatory sentencing laws that they openly denounce” are forced to follow through with undeserved life sentences. These laws take away any chance of further review for more complicated offenses.
The problem doesn’t stop at what the sentencing is, there is even discrepancy is who is being sentenced. Crimes committed can be much more to do with identity rather than moral compass. Consider the concern of mental illness. Editorialist Nicholas Kristof brings this issue to light in his piece, “Inside a Mental Hospital Called Jail” (2014), stating that “60 percent of the jail’s intake reported that they had been diagnosed with mental illness.” Certain mental illnesses can seriously put a damper on decision-making, and simply taking them away from society is not the way to treat such a condition. He further explains that because of the government’s choice to drastically cutback mental illness treatment centers, some will even commit crimes just so they can have access to medication in jail. Kristof boldly describes the senseless system as “inhumane” and “deluded” (Kristof).
As if this were not enough to be able to discern the government’s neglect toward the federal prison system, certain prison’s authoritative figures aren’t even up to par. While some could argue that prisons provide jobs, what is the use if they’re getting paid to create a corrupt place for people to go to be restrained and changed for the better of society. The Editorial Board of The New York Times released an article explaining “the latest chapter in a series of challenges to horrendous conditions in Mississippi prisons.” This ongoing problem consisted of “staff members coercing...

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