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Prison System Essay

1390 words - 6 pages

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics there are currently 2.4 million people in federal and state prison in the United States, that equals out to 1 out of every 100 American adults. This places the United States at number one in the world for its incarceration rate. The US has 5% of the worlds population but 245% of the worlds prisoners. In addition to this there are 4.8 million adults on probation of parole and 70,792 juveniles in juvenile detention. In 2008 the breakdown for adults under correctional control was as follows: one out of 18 men, one in 89 women, one in 11 African-Americans (9.2 percent), one in 27 Latinos (3.7 percent), and one in 45 Caucasians (2.2 percent). Since 1980 the prison population has quadrupled in part due to the mandatory sentencing on drug convictions. The rate of non-violent crimes have been on the decline and only about 7.9 of federal inmates and in prison for violent crimes. The Bureau of Justice Statistics also repots in a 2002 study that out of 275,000 prisoner that were released in 1994 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years and 51.8% were back in prison.
With the growth of the prison population incarceration has become a multi-billion dollar industry. The money spent by taxpayer in addition to prison offering almost no rehabilitation greatly effects society and Americas economic system. How does incarceration create lasting barriers to economic gain? Bruce Weston a Princeton sociologist estimates that a prison record will reduce a man earnings by 30% to 40% through less work and lower pay, by age 48 formers inmates will have earned less almost $180,000 less than those who have not been incarcerated. Two – thrids of adult males sent to prison were employed at the time of their sentencing. When former inmates are able to obtain and hold employment they are more likely to avoid criminal activity. It’s estimated that 65% of employers would not knowingly hire an rx-convict, regardless of the offense. Additionaly several laws in the 1980’s further limited job opportunities for offenders. For example s. In California, they are barred from the law, real estate, medicine,nursing, physical therapy, and education. Colorado prohibits them from becoming dentists, engineers, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, or real estate agents. In addition most inmates, when released on parole are required to return to the county where he or she lived in the past. This mean even if inmates want to move away and start over they can’t and are sent back to the same neighborhoods and influences they came from and most likely contributed to their delinquency. Several studies have shown that incarceration increases crime rather than deterring it. Sociolgist Joan Moore explained that since prisons are dangerous places most new inmates seek protection by joining a gang. When inmates are released back in to society they are still loyal to the gang and commit more crimes. She was quoted as saying, “In California I don’t think gangs...

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