Essay about The United States Is A Prison Society

1872 Words Nov 3rd, 2015 8 Pages
The United States is a prison society. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world – more than historically harsh societies such as Russia and China; we sentence people to longer sentences than other nations; and we are one of the only developed countries who still practice the death penalty. Our rate of incarceration increased a staggering 700% from 1970 to 2005 (banking on bondage pg 5, 11) and, as of 2013, 1 out of every 110 adults in the USA are in jail or prison, with a further 1 in 51 on probation or parole (Correctional Populations in the United States, 2013).
The more one studies the prison system the more one sees just how unjust it is. We treat drug addicts and people with mental illnesses the same way as violent inmates, despite the fact that most are non-violent and commit minor offenses. (source) We are the only country in the world that sentences minors to life without parole (Children Left Behind Bars pg 83) and, up until 2003, we even executed people for crimes they committed while under 18 years old. (source) Many defendants take plea bargains for crimes they may be innocent of because it is the only way to ensure a sentence shorter than an inflexible mandatory minimum (Nation Behind Bars, pg 9). Sometimes, we even send people to prison because they are poor and cannot pay their legal fees – essentially, we send them to debtor’s prison and keep adding fees onto their bills indefinitely. (source) And, once in prison, we don’t give inmates the…

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