The Prison System: Incarceration In The United States

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The prison system is thought of as a solution to lower crime - a way to punish those who have committed crimes. Hopes of reformation are usually attached to those with lesser prison sentences and prison becomes a place of self-improvement. Long prison sentences are seen as a good tool for society because they isolate the wrongdoers from society. The experience is very different for people that are imprisoned and have served their due time.
When newly-released people are sent back into society, they are expected to learn from their mistakes and function as better citizens. In reality, it is just the opposite. They are being sent back to their previous communities with no money, transportation, with little or no support. Being in prison for
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The number has jumped from around 200 thousand people 50 years ago, to over 1.5 million in 2015 (“Trends in U.S. Corrections”). Compared to the rest of the world, the United States has the highest percentage of the population in prisons (“Trends in U.S. Corrections”). The prison overpopulation is due to the ineffective model of generally longer sentences being given in the United States. It is difficult to determine if the growing number of people being incarcerated affects the crime rate in the United States. Many people argue for tough-on-crime policies but many studies show that putting more people behind bars is not the solution. According to statistics, “though the United States has just 5 percent of the world’s prison population, it has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners” (Golberg). Despite these numbers reports show that such policies are ineffective in lowering crime rates. Long sentences can often do more harm than good. Prisons seem designed to keep people separated from society. There is a literal wall between inmates and those on the outside, even though each year many criminals reenter the society after serving their time. In the end, they are still people who deserve a second chance to improve themselves and have a better …show more content…
A study of long term inmates found that “the most serious problems for long term prisoners included travel distance for loved ones, privacy during visitation, privacy in wells and crowding” (EFFECTS OF LONG TERM INCARCERATION). This kind of deprivation can lead to frustration and anxiety. Inmates are also deprived of autonomy. They are imposed upon a power structure where the guards have all the power and can do anything they want. The inmates themselves, after a long sentence, can lose their sense of self efficacy to accomplish

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