Mass Inarceration Essay

774 Words 4 Pages
An epidemic faces the United States. One larger than any other country has to deal with. Mass incarceration of our citizens has, until now, been on the rise, reaching staggering numbers. The “Who Is in Prison” graphic on page 145 in We the People paints a simplified image of the realities of our prison system. America, the home of the brave and land of the free, has the highest prison population in the world. There are about 700 people incarcerated per 100,000 residents nationwide which amounts to over 2 million behind bars. The South and Southwest are home to the worst incarceration rates in the nation, while the Northeast maintains some of the lowest rates. Men are the largest shareholders of prison cells, making up over 90% of the population, an incarceration rate 14 times higher than that of women. There are various reasons as to why one would receive a prison sentence, but the majority of prisoners are serving time for violent offences, 53% of them in fact. Drug offenders occupy about 17% of the populace with the other 30% going to property offenders and public-order offenders. Perhaps the most shocking statistic is that African Americans account for nearly 40% of the prison population while only representing approximately 13% of the total population. …show more content…
These drugs are not the only cogs in that operation though. The way in which people are prosecuted for drug offenses can also be just as dangerous for that individual. America’s current ideology of “Zero Tolerance” and “The War on Drugs” is grossly outdated and contributing to increases in incarceration rates. By treating minor drug offenders like violent criminals and handing down sentences of months or years in a federal prison, the courts are turning misguided individuals into hardened criminals. Methodically giving minimum sentences for nonviolent minor drug offenders violates the 8th Amendment

Related Documents