The United States has the world’s largest incarceration rate with over 700 inmates per 100,000 residents. The U.S holds about five percent of the worlds population. However, we house more than twenty-five percent of the worlds inmates. The percentage of people in the U.S in prison or jail is a little less than 1% of the population. With over 1.6 million people in jail, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2010, the number of inmates increases year after year. Men make up ninety percent of the prison and jail population, and they are more than ten times more likely to be in incarcerated than women. Most of the men incarcerated are young between the ages of early twenties to early thirties. Of these inmates, most are African American followed by Hispanics. While being young, prisoners also have a low education level. Many do not have any type of college education and unfortunately, some have not received a high school diploma. Studies show that men and women with low education levels are more likely to go to prison than those with a high school diploma or a college degree. It is also said that those who are from lower income communities known as urban neighborhoods are more likely to be in prison than those of a higher class. This is because of the problem minorities have with law enforcement. Low income and minorities are the reason why there is a mass incarceration going on over the years. In order to solve the mass incarceration issue depends on several factors. One of those being that there needs to be some investments of educational and fundamental resources in low income neighborhoods so that the gap between law enforcements and minorities can be filled.
Some may feel that there are justifications for sending some people to prison. Some may say that it can make an example out of others. Some say that those families who have lost a loved one due to murder and that criminal gets puts away now have closure once the killer gets sentenced. It helps their healing process to know that no other family will have to be a victim to their crimes. Criminals must be removed from society to keep everyone else safe but not everybody is a criminal just because the law says that they are. How does it benefit somebody if someone gets a traffic ticket and has to go to jail? It doesn’t benefit anyone but the jail because they are receiving money for that person being incarcerated. When asked if that woman or man has ever been to jail, they have to respond truthfully and when society hears that someone was in jail, they judge. They automatically think that you are a bad person if you have ever been to jail and they put you in a category in their mind as you being a criminal.
Personally, I do not believe that prison is the best form of punishment for all crimes. We have prisons with basketball courts, television sets, board games, and other living conditions that an inmate should not have. Tax payers are paying so that these prisons can have lavish like living conditions when this is supposed to be a place so that they can understand that what they did was wrong. How can they feel that way if the only thing different in their new lifestyle is that their bed isn’t as soft and that their food isn’t as tasty? If someone is being punished, they should not be able to have the same advantages that they can have while being free. They should see that this is not a place they ever want to be again if they get released. Criminals should have harsher living conditions so they can realize that what they did is not okay and that no one is going to tolerate it. There are some crimes that I feel like should have a little more leniency however.
You have people who commit minor crimes such as having marijuana in the car with others who have committed murder and rape. While they are incarcerated, they are missing out on seeing their families and being unable to better themselves over something that is legal in some states…