Essay on The Effects Of Mass Incarceration On The United States

1360 Words Sep 27th, 2016 6 Pages
The causes of mass incarceration, a term used to describe rapid the growth of the United States’ imprisoned population from the early 1970’s until the present day, have been a topic of great debate in recent times. The National Research Council reports that the United States’ penal population of approximately 2.2 million adults, at a rate of 716 prisoners per 100,000 citizens, is the largest in the world. This is an astounding increase from the early 1970s where the rate of imprisonment excluding jails was approximately 110 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. Detailed research analyses of the events between the early 1970s to the present day make it clear that social and political ideas and movements including changes in policy making, tough on crime stance, the War on drugs, the influx of immigrants during that time and the racial and economical biases, are key contributors to why the Unites States holds 25% of the world 's prisoners yet its population only accounts for 5%of the world 's population.

The growth of the penal system and the increases in the numbers of individuals incarcerated were initially intended. From the 1930s till the early 1970s, the U.S had an intermediate sentencing system which did not give a specific prison term, merely a range. Judges were able to decide the range of punishment, thus leading to a lack of standards for appellate judges to review appealed sentences. This was soon deemed an ineffective…

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