Prison System: Deterrent To Crime Or Assistant?

781 words - 4 pages

The crime rate in America has gone down, but whether or not incarceration is responsible for the drop continues to be cross-examined. Incarceration, like everything in life, is accompanied by both pros and cons. Prison is never the place anybody wants to claim residency to; it sends out a bad vibe. If a relative, a friend, or we were victims to a crime we would ultimately insist on the criminal being put away so we can all feel a sense of protection. We receive a sense of closure, possibly temporary, but nonetheless closure. What happens the moment the delinquent is released after serving time? The culprit is back on the streets and you fear you’re in danger again. That feeling is due to the fact that prisons don’t effectively rehabilitate the occupants. When they’re released they continue the life they left behind after being incarcerated. If they aren’t given the chance to rehabilitate while in prison chances are slim that they will go on the right path once they have been released.
There exist two forms of deterrence. Primary deterrence focuses on the criminal; in the form of direct prevention of crime. However, it does not take rehabilitation into consideration whatsoever. Primary deterrence, also known as specific deterrence, emphasizes on keeping the criminal off the streets. If the criminal is serving time in a prison they can no longer commit crimes or be criminal threat to society and each community. The second form of deterrence is general deterrence. That form specializes in teaching society a lesson by incarcerating people around us. Joel Waldfogel from America’s Prisons says that, “ if someone is convicted of robbing a convenience store and sentenced to jail or prison, their punishment will cause others to think twice before committing a similar crime”(Waldfogel.) Overall, in both derivatives of the general term deterrence, rehabilitation isn’t a goal. It doesn’t focus of minimizing crime rates in the long run, only as a short-term solution.
Alternative sentences should be available for the sake of the criminal and society’s future. Amongst the alternative sentences lie community service, financial restitution, halfway houses, and intensive supervision probation for specifically non-violent criminal offenders. William M. DiMascio says, “simple probation is at one end, traditional incarceration at the other, and a variety of community-based sanctions, such as work release, electronic...

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