What is the purpose of the present prison system in America? Most would say it is to keep the law abiding citizens safe from the law breakers while a smaller multitude would say it should be to deter crimes from happening through the consequence of incarceration. Some may even claim that the prison system helps its prisoners by giving them time to reflect on their actions and assume the only conclusion that could be reached through a process as such is a resolution to stay on the right side of the law and engage society in a mutually productive way. All these commonly held beliefs about the prison system sound ideal but are not based in reality simply because they ignore the obvious flaws(partly due to ignorance) and drastically exaggerate the effectiveness of the system.
As it stands the cost of maintaining the current prison system is constantly growing with more and more criminals being locked behind bars for various offences. Guards cannot guarantee a prisoner’s safety from the other prisoners even as is and Scott Anderson’s in his book “Rape in Prison” claims there are over 300,000 instances of prison rape per year. Also there are gang fights, the barbaric practice of solitary confinement and a lack of psychological services for the prisoners. I cannot accept these problems as necessary conditions of a system to decrease crime because there is no concrete evidence that the penalty of incarceration significantly decreases criminal behavior from happening or reoccurring. I believe our current system may actually increase the number of repeat offenders. I have a few insights that I hope could reform the prison system into a force of good for society.
The most crucial and biggest impacting change I present is the distinction between those who are dangerous to society and those who broke the law. Our jails are packed full with murders, rapists, kidnappers, etc. but are also filled with drug dealers, drug users, shoplifters, businessmen, and others that are NOT a threat to the public’s safety. I propose allowing those that are not dangerous to society to be released from jail and permitted to pay their debt to society through programs that focus on not only rewarding good behavior but restitution to those affected by the crime by working for them in some way. This way allows for justice to be experienced firsthand, economic benefit for those hurt by a crime and it will greatly reduce prison populations. With prison population’s reduced greater security can be offered to each prisoner and this could be taken even further with the relatively cheap implementation of emergency help buttons and an accompanying system. A service I think would greatly help those willing to let it would be psychiatric therapy to both the dangerous and non-dangerous prisoners. Instead of raising taxes to fund these services I advocate completely eliminating the ineffective probation system and appropriating all the money to the psychiatric services.
I recognize the changes I propose are only but the first step in changing the prison system and I’m interested in hearing your ideas on the prison system and how it can be bettered.
<a href=”Does” _mce_href=”http://polldaddy.com/poll/4202124/”>Does”>http://polldaddy.com/poll/4202124/”>Does the prison system need to be reformed?</a><span style=”font-size:9px;”><a href=”online” _mce_href=”http://polldaddy.com/features-surveys/”>online”>http://polldaddy.com/features-surveys/”>online survey</a></span>