The War On Drugs And The Three Strikes Essay

1269 Words 6 Pages
Americans today live in a country overflowing with more prisoners than ever, yet crime has been dropping since the late twentieth century. In fact, from 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled from about 500,000 to 2.3 million people (Criminal 1). There are several factors contributing to this problem. In recent years, America has taken new approaches to crime, such as the “War On Drugs” and the “Three Strikes” law. These approaches have drastically increased the prison population, to the point that 1 in 31 adults, or 3.2% of the population, will spend some time in prison in their lifetime (ibid). There are many reasons for the amount of prisoners, but one reason in particular stands out: the strict sentences for drug offenders. During the 1970s, the “war on drugs” and “tough on crime” approaches were initiated to decrease drug use, and therefore crime. However, although crime has decreased, drug use has not decreased, and imprisonment rates are growing more drastic. Between 1993 and 1996, serious crime decreased by 5% and adult arrests increased by 12%, but adult arrests for serious crime only increased by 3%; in contrast, arrests for less serious crimes, like drug possession, grew by 14% (Cunniff 9). Yet despite the lack of impact of anti-drug programs, the government continues to take the same approach. Even despite the increase in prison populations, there are little to no regulations of prison populations (Schlanger 199). Clearly, the…

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