Latricia W. Cunningham
Upper Iowa University
This paper was prepared for Social Problems, taught by Professor Dave Haecker
Mass Incarceration and how it’s a social problem?
America, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave? How can this be possible if America is the leader out of every country in incarceration rates? There are 2.2 million people in prison or jail in America. (The Sentencing Project , 2014) Since 1970 the U.S. imprisonment rates have increased five-fold, with minorities and the poor being the most affected. Imprisonment has an effect on the earnings of men, reduces familial resources, assists in the break-up of the familial structure, and adds to the deficit …show more content…
Extreme sentencing laws have people serving decade-long sentences that does not fit the crime. These laws strips the judge’s ability to make a sentence that actually fits the crime. Considering the fact that, some people and private corporations get large payments from the state the longer a person is held in prison, making them have a vested interest in holding someone in prison for a long time. (Holcomb & Romero, 2015) The people that are suffering the most due to mass incarceration are the poor and people of color. “An African American male born in 1975 and did not finish high school has a nearly 70 percent chance of serving jail time by his mid-thirties.” It is the consequence of changes in policy and the economy the -changes in the social context, rather than changes in individual behavior. There are three social policies implemented that contribute to the mass incarceration of minority men. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, and the “three strikes” laws. This phenomenon is not based on the individual but on how society has chosen to handle crime. (Beer, …show more content…
It increases the likelihood of single- parent households, has an impact the possibility of a former inmate finding suitable employment upon release, and as for the child it may lead to varying degrees of behavioral problems. There is a growing number of female-headed families, which upsurges the risks of chronic poverty for women and children. When a child grows up in poverty the risk of school failure, poor health, and delinquency are greatly expanded. (Western, 2004) These are just some of the domino effects of mass incarceration on the family structure and its resources.
Having a criminal history leads to a person working for a job that lacks benefits, a decent wage, and lessons the chances of finding suitable long term employment. According to (Western, 2006), having a criminal history is a direct path to temporary employment and insecure work. Employment and a steady income are serious for the society and the community as a whole. The lack of being able to find employment effects the economics of the family, and the chances for recidivism are highly