The Pros And Cons Of Prison Incarceration

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According to Al-Khatib, a writer for Discovery News, the United States has just five percent of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners. While prisons did not gain popularity until America was established as a country, the mass incarceration most see today is a relatively recent phenomenon. (Al-Khatib). Mass incarceration is defined as the imprisonment of a large number of people. Although this may seem beneficial, the prison system is very heinous. Ethics are questionable in America’s prison systems. Racial discrimination is very prevalent in prison, along with rape and other deplorable situations, and thus, the ineffective yet costly American prison system has been a growing injustice over the past few decades.
The concept
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Many states have to choose: Education vs. Prisons (Bezahler). While it may seem like an easy choice to pick education, our prison system has to accommodate a growing number of inmates, thus making states choose to increase funding for prisons (Yellin). A graphic designer, Tal Yellin, from CNN Money, uses statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau to best illustrate the gap in state spending on prisoners vs. the state spending on students. The war on drugs is a tremendous financial strain. Due to the war on drugs, nonviolent drug offenders make up 60% of America’s prison population (Dettmer). According to Mr. McElwee, the war on drugs over the past 40 years has costed the United States 1 trillion dollars. The exorbitant sums of money the U.S. puts into fighting drugs doesn’t even pay off, as more and more people are being apprehended each year. What’s needed is a humane solution that does not subject inmates to horrible conditions, while protecting the wallets of the …show more content…
One way to solve the problem is to change the approach to ending the war on drugs. For instance, Switzerland has had a successful program in which the government set up safe areas for drug users to get assistance while also being able to use their drug for a period of time before rehabilitation. This program has been very successful at helping drug addicts recover (Dettmer). Rehabilitation seems to be a smarter way at approaching the problem. Why waste money and time imprisoning a drug offender, rather than helping him/her on the path to recovery? A New York mayor has actually proposed the very same thing, though the United States government would have to accept huge changes in order to implement such a system (Nessouli). There are alternate means that our prison system can take in order to prevent prisoners from reoffending. One of the biggest things that can be done is the education of prisoners. Prisoners who gain higher education are less likely to reoffend, as opposed to other prisoners who don’t receive a degree (Henry). What’s more, presidential elections are right around the corner. When one chooses to vote for a candidate who supports prison reforms, he/she is helping to solve the problem. With such simple and accessible solutions, prison reform is within grasp.
Not only does the American prison system commit major injustices, but the prison system itself is a major strain on the national budget. America needs major reforms

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