Retribution And Incarceration

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Retribution vs Reformation Beginning in the 1970’s, prison reform in the United States lead to trend of soaring incarceration rates. These reforms, which took place through the 1990’s, led to stricter federal sentencing laws and guidelines, which in turn increased enforcement as well as imprisonment rates. Since 1980, the prison population in the United States has more than quadrupled in size. As of 2015, there were over two million people in prison, which means one out of every one hundred adults was incarcerated (Washington Post, 2015). The U.S. constitutes for approximately 5 percent of the world’s population, however it houses approximately 25 percent of the world’s prison population (Washington Post, 2015). With one of the highest recidivism …show more content…
Arguably the largest contributing factor to the increased prison population is the increase usage of for-profit prisons. With a focus on retribution rather than rehabilitation, the U.S. has approximately 750 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. This rise is directly related to the increase in for-profit prisons, which increase 1,600 percent between 1990 and 2010 (Sanders, 2015). Criminologist Bob Cameron states that the “goal of the American prisons’ is retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, restoration, and then rehabilitation” (Sterbenz, 2014). According to the United States Justice Department, harsh prison conditions and strict incarceration increase recidivism and crime rates while “cognitive-behavioral programs vested in social learning theory” is the most effective criminal justice system (Sasbol, 2015). With the current trend in the U.S.’s criminal justice system showing dismal results, comparing it to a system like that of Norway can be done on many levels. One must consider the system as well as the prison styles, costs and recidivism rates of each country. In doing so, one might question whether a system comparable to Norway’s …show more content…
While there are prisoners in the United States who serve 55 years for the possession of 3 ounces of methamphetamine, a mass murderer received 21 years in Norway (Segura, 2012). With almost 50,000 prisoners serving terms of life without parole, the United States faces drawbacks in their prison system - like solitary confinement or incarceration of the mentally ill. While the United States focuses on retributive criminal sentencing, Norway adopted a system with a “restorative model that emphasizes healing: for the victims, for the society, and yes, for the criminal him or herself” (Segura, 2012). With this seemingly soft on crime approach, Norway boasts some of the lowers crime, incarceration and recidivism rates in the entire world (Kofman, 2015). When sentenced to 21 years, a prisoner in Norway can expect to have their freedoms severely restricted. However, they can also expect to be educated in personal skills like cooking and sewing as well as professional skills like welding. It is not uncommon for guards and inmates to be on friendly terms, and prisoners can also earn free time - which can be spent in local towns. Towards the end of their sentence, prisoners are evaluated for rehabilitation purposes. If necessary, the court can add additional time to the sentence if inmates are not deemed ready to rejoin society (Kofman, 2015). Instead of using practices like

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