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The Criminal Justice System Essay

3698 words - 15 pages

The Criminal Justice System

Is this a hellish nightmare that I have to awaken from?
Caged and confined, thinking and pondering,
I wonder what human is this
that he should be subjected to imprisonment
that neither improves nor corrects his soul?
Is there no compassion for restoring a man
to contribute to this nation?
Or does the dark side of humanity
see offenders of the law as utter undesirables
unworthy of aid and therapy?
Society, I have been tried and sentenced.
Serving time for violating the law is not supposed to be a picnic.
But demoralizing and dehumanizing a man
to the dust of the ground does not correct behavior
that got him incarcerated in the first place.
This only fuels the fire,
a fire which, if not handled properly,
will in time burn everything in its path.

Now who is the real criminal?

By: Prisoner In
Cell 52514
Block 2-229
City Penitentiary
Everyday, the American prison system becomes more crowded and over-burdened. Prison bed space cannot keep up with the prison population. While presidents and governors call for a “tough stance” on crime, the infrastructure is inadequate to contain all offenders. However, even if there were enough room to fit every individual that commits a criminal act, would this be the best move for the community and the offender? Placing an individual into a prison removes them from the general population, thus making the society they live in safer. But, separating individuals in a community does indirectly injure the community as a whole. These individuals obviously are no longer contributing to the local economy, but on a basic level, their absence places a hole into a community. Offenders have been shaped by the values and practices of their community. So, even though an individual may have acted in a way that is unacceptable to their community, that person is still the product of his community. Therefore, communities must hold some of the burden for making people into who they are.
So, prisons must do more then just contain offenders. A responsible society must make the effort to rehabilitate these individuals and make strides to re-connect them with the community. As Bill McKibben says, “Isn’t it time to focus harder on substantive problems, such as how do we build a society that doesn’t destroy the planet by its greed, and doesn’t ignore the weak and the poor (McKibben, p. 720).” Much attention has been given to issues of big business versus the environment. People can sympathize with this cause. Though it may not be as glamorous, it is just as important that society’s addresses the needs of the less fortunate. Even though criminals who commit the most heinous crimes receive the majority of public attention, most offenders are not intrinsically evil or irreversible. Often they are weak individuals who may not have received the best upbringing or have instilled in them a set of values incompatible with the community. McKibben...

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