Essay on "In the Belly of the Beast" by Jack Abbott

Words: 1934
Pages: 8

“In the Belly of the Beast”
Imagine being 37 years old and spending 25 years of your life locked up, behind bars. “In the Belly of the Beast” is a collection of letters, told by Jack Henry Abbott, which expose the harsh realities of the Americas penal system. In translating Abbott’s experiences, he unveils that the current system has failed to keep dangerous criminals off the streets and that it has proved to be unsuccessful in creating a deterrent for committing crimes. According to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, “State courts in 32 counties across 17 States sentenced 79,000 felons to probation in 1986. Within 3 years of sentencing, while still on probation, 43% of these felons were rearrested for a felony. Half of the
…show more content…
Someone can not be forced into institutionalization then set free in society and be expected to know how to act. Reform needs to occur in order to better the lives of those who have committed crimes but want to be helped. This is one of the reasons why Abbott conformed to Marxism because he felt that a system like the Soviet Unions would better help everyone and society.
Jack Abbott exposes the American penal system to the world in such vivid imagery. With his accounts of living the life of an institutionalized individual, he allows for readers to realize the harsh and inhumane events that take place. Abbott exposes that the American institutionalization systems are cruel and not sufficient for rehabilitation.
In my analysis of In the Belly of the Beast and reflection of my first paper, I stand by my argument which was that the American penal systems are cruel and do not rehabilitate those whom have committed crimes. Our tax dollars are used to invest millions of dollars into constructing bigger jails which do not prevent recidivism. Our current system only warehouses criminals. Repeat offenders get caught in the prison system because they are not rehabilitated. The logic behind the idea of a prison system is to rehabilitate criminals so that upon release, they can return to society and prove to be productive, law-abiding, citizens. There is no point in