Prison Reform : The New York Times Essay

1293 Words Dec 10th, 2015 6 Pages
Over the past several decades, the number of prison inmates has grown exponentially. In 1980, prison population was numbered around half a million inmates. A graph of statistics gathered from the U.S. Bureau of Justice shows that between 1980 and 2010, the prison population grew almost five times, topping out at nearly 2.5 million. According to an article in The New York Times, the average time spent in jail by prisoners released in 2009 increased by 36% compared to prisoners released in 1990. Many people, such as those at Human Rights Watch, believe that the increase of these numbers has been because of tough-on-crime laws, causing prisons to be filled with non-violent offenders. This rise in crime rates, prison population, and recidivism, has led politicians as well as ordinary citizens to call for prison reform.
However, many of the past ideas for prison reform have cost taxpayers more without producing better results, according to an article in The New York Times. Many of the reform ideas nowadays would still cost more, but some believe that this extra cost in the short-term would help with the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-convicts in the long run. Others see the cost of reform and immediately reject the idea of spending more money on rehabilitating prisoners. Some that would agree with spending money on prison reform question how effective the rehabilitation programs would be. How are we to instigate reform in our prison system to reduce recidivism rates? In…

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