I Want To Be Free Essay

1220 Words 5 Pages
When John was an adolescent, he was just another kid living in the outskirts of St. Louis. He flew through high school without a hitch, going as far as getting a some scholarship money. As John advanced into college, many of his companions, though once good, turned to those curbed to a life of crime. One night while driving home one of his best friends from his childhood, he got pulled over, and his “companion” had, unknowingly to John, stashed heroin in his car. John, by not snitching on his friend, put all the work he’s put into his life, to a stop. In combination with some previous party related offenses, he gets put in jail for 10 years. He sat in an enclosed room hours on end, each day. He enjoyed reading and doing other “prison acceptable” …show more content…
America is home to only five percent of the world’s population, yet it houses a quarter of the world’s incarcerated people (Two). Think, out of every four people in jail, one of them is American. Still, it’s puzzling, that the “land of the free” has more people locked away than anywhere else on this planet. Out of 100,000 Americans, 737 of them are in jail, which is more people than the combined populations of Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming put together (“prisons”). It’s unsettling to think that seven percent of all Americans are behind bars right now, with society moving on without them. The incarcerated are not only unable to provide for their families, but they live off of taxpayer money while locked away as well. Without the interference of new policies regarding current sentencing laws, America’s prisons community will only continue to grow in population. Prisons in America are a waste of taxpayer money,and reduce funding places such as schools. It costed $20,224 to keep one person in prison for a year, eighteen years ago (Irwin, Ziedenberg, and Schiraldi). That number has most likely increased since 1997, but even if unchanged, the costs of keeping somebody in a cage isn 't worth its effects. Instead of using that tax money for keeping the criminals away from society, we should use it integrating them back into it. In 1998, American taxpayers …show more content…
Research done by the Rand Corporation showed that convicted felons had significantly higher recidivism rates when sent to prison, than ones who were placed on probation (Irwin, Ziedenberg, and Schiraldi). Somebody that may have been set straight by non incarcerating forms of punishment, could be permanently curbed to a life of crime. It’s shocking to see that mandatory sentencing laws are still in place by some states in America, despite research like this. “...The system we have designed to deal with offenders is among the most iatrogenic in history, nurturing those very qualities it claims to deter…”(“The Prison System”) Not only are the prisoners unproductive while in jail, but getting used to life in prison could make getting a regular job in society difficult once you get out. Even worse, when somebody leaves prison in America, they could be molded into an antisocial person with deep seeded resentment towards authority, and be even less likely to successfully integrate back into society. Sentences in American prisons, should reflect the crime you have committed, and not be based off of laws that jail first time offenders for too long. Change to the way the American prison system works is a necessity, the prisons are overcrowded, but waste the nation 's tax money, operate on a biased system, and encourage recidivism. American prisons lock more people away than any

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