The World Is Tough On Crime Essay

793 Words 4 Pages
The world is a tough and scary place.

This is the message we have always been told. Told by the stories from the media, from our parents, our friends, perhaps even through our own personal experiences. The media are constantly highlighting stories of rape, murder, robbery, etc. Our parents tell us "don 't talk to strangers." It seems as if anywhere, at any time, someone can and will take advantage of you if given the opportunity. Given the increase in riots, police shootings, and threats of terrorism, one would think that humanity is heading towards certain doom.

In light of this narrative, it might not be a surprise that the United States is tough on crime. In fact, the United States has nearly 25% of the world 's prison population, but
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The United States has the highest incarceration rate among the developed world, and has the second highest incarceration rate in the world at a rate of 693 per 100,000 people, losing only to the Seychelles which has a rate of 799 per 100,000 people. The United States imprisons a higher percentage of their population than does Cuba, Russia, and China.

This suggests there is a crime epidemic occurring in the United States at levels that are unprecedented. But reality couldn 't be further from this implication. Contrary to the narrative painted by the media, we are living in one of the most non-violent and peaceful eras of human history. Data from the FBI UCS annual crime reports indicates the crimes of all kinds - murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and vehicle theft - have been on a downhill trend after peaking in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Crime in the United States is at an all time low since the past 50
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Even more ironic is the fact that a country known as the "land of liberty" is more accurately described as the land of prisons. One might be tempted to argue that our current rates of crime are so low because we have locked up our criminals, but it doesn 't explain why the United States continues to send so many people to jail, and it doesn 't explain why there are so many other countries with much lower incarceration rates that also have much lower crime rates.

We must ask ourselves why our criminal justice system puts so many people into prison. If rates of crimes are at an all time low, what exactly are people in prisons and jails for? As expected, the United States imprisons more types of criminal offenders, which include non-violent and drug offenders, and tends to give criminals longer sentences relative to other developed nations. In fact, 1 in 5 incarcerated people are locked up for a drug offense. The main explanation is that prosecutors and district attorneys are handing out harsher sentences more frequently, although the reasons are not so clear as to

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