Essay about Mass Incarceration And How It Effects Society
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 of poor children. (Western, Patillo, & Weiman, Incarceration in Fragile Families, 2010) Crime and high crime rates also impose tremendous costs on society. (Kearney, Harris, Jacome, & Parker, 2014) The newly adopted policies of mandatory sentencing that includes “truth in sentencing”, and the “three strikes you’re out”, have all contributed to a far more punitive justice system than previous years. (Mauer, 2003) Some of the pettiest crimes are sending people to jail or prison in massive amounts for a long time. Although it is true individuals that commit crimes should be punished, the detrimental effects it has on society and the family structure should be cause for criminal justice reform.
Hundreds of thousands of people are…