“It’s really clear that the most effective way to turn a nonviolent person into a violent one is to send them to prison,” says Harvard University criminologist James Gilligan. The American prison system takes nonviolent offenders and makes them live side-by-side with hardened killers. The very nature of prison, no matter people view it, produces an environment that is inevitably harmful to its residents.
America locks up five times more of its' population than any other nation in the world. Due to prison overcrowding, prisoners are currently sleeping on floors, in tents, in converted broom closets and gymnasiums, or even in double or triple bunks in cells, which were designed for one inmate. Why is this happening? The U.S. Judicial System has become so succumbed to the ideal that Imprisonment is the most visibly form of punishment. The current structure of this system is failing terribly. To take people, strip them of their possessions and privacy, expose them to violence on a daily basis, restrict their quality of life to a 5x7ft cell, and deprive them of any meaning to live. This scenario is a standard form of punishment for violent offenders, although not suitable for nonviolent offenders.
Today, almost 70% of all prisoners are serving time for nonviolent offenses. U.S. States are spending an average of $100 million per year on new prisons and all U.S. taxpayers front the bill for a system that is not working (Carson). Why should we force taxpayers to pay to keep nonviolent criminals sitting in prison cells where they become bitter, aggressive, and more likely to repeat their offenses when released? The answer is we shouldn’t, there are more reliable forms of punishment available, and rehabilitation and restitution are two alternatives I firmly believe are most effective than incarceration.
Nonviolent criminals should be punished differently. This is because nonviolent criminals do not learn from the misery of being in cells with violent inmates. Drug offenders for example are a public health problem, not public safety problem, and nonviolent offenders can be properly educated. We offer convicts no opportunities to learn compassion or take responsibility for what they have done, nor make restitution or offer atonement to their victims in any practical ways. ...
... middle of paper ...
...he certainty of restitution, by requiring monetary payment, takes the profit out of crime (Carson).
Most people have the common view that the criminal justice system’s increasing arrests and imprisonment is an effective strategy for reducing crime. If the judicial system makes greater distinction among violent and nonviolent crimes, the prisons will have the vacancies to incarcerate the Jeffery Dahmers of the world in prison for life. By providing alternatives to imprisonment for nonviolent offenders will reduce the burden of taxpayer’s dollars for added funding for construction of new prisons. I know as a College Student I would like to see increased State funding for education system rather than the millions allocated to the prison system of Pennsylvania.
Prisons are not places where nonviolent offenders can serve time and then be released a better person, more fit for society. The prison environment is wrong, and as a result a nonviolent offender will leave unimproved. It is my belief that the alternatives of community control programs, rehabilitation programs, and restitution programs are the answers to the sentencing of nonviolent offenders.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Nonviolent Offenders – Is Incarceration the Answer. “It’s really clear that the most effective way to turn a nonviolent person into a violent one is to send them to prison,” says Harvard University criminologist James Gilligan. The American prison system takes nonviolent offenders and makes them live side-by-side with hardened killers. The very nature of prison, no matter people view it, produces an environment that is inevitably harmful to its residents. America locks up five times more of its' population than any other nation in the world.... [tags: essays research papers]
1487 words (4.2 pages)
- There is no shortage of information chronicling the destruction that has been done in the lives of numerous of individuals and numerous loved one of those individuals by the severely harsh sentencing laws passed by our United States Congress and our state legislatures commencing in the late 1980s in what is called to be “War on Drugs.” Some of our past and present political influential leaders have chooses to minimize utilizing their Pardon Power. Ronald Reagan when he was elected to Presidency in his first term a nonpolitical influencer who held the position of duty attorney general managed all of the Presidents advisement for clemency pardon powers under the attorney general which was not... [tags: Clemency Essays]
1145 words (3.3 pages)
- ... As it is they aren’t fed very well and now they have to be given an even smaller amount because the prison doesn’t have enough to feed all the inmates and they are still receiving more each day which is making it super hard to distribute the supply of food they get for all the inmates. A typical prison will have about 140, 00 (Taylor 1) inmates at their prison and sometimes even more at the bigger prisons in the more populated cities. Which makes it very difficult to feed all the inmates. The overcrowding situation is also preventing officials to put the more dangerous inmates put in the prison because they have all different types of nonviolent inmates locked up.... [tags: Prison, Crime, Criminal justice, Drug]
1085 words (3.1 pages)
- The Effects of Pornography on Sexual Offenders. Pornography as today, is the representation in books, magazines, photographs, films and media, of scenes of sexual behavior that are erotic or arouse sexual acts. Defining and classifying materials that are considered pornographic has proven somewhat elusive and has varied considerably across time and across different social and cultural context. Pornography can be divided into three categories; Erotica: which are images that express mutual pleasurable sexual expression between people who have enough power to be there by positive choice.... [tags: Pornography, Sexual intercourse, Sex offender]
1498 words (4.3 pages)
- The United States has the world's highest incarceration rate. With five percent of the world's population, our country houses nearly twenty-five percent of the world's reported prisoners. Currently there are approximately two million people in American prisons or jails. Since 1984 the prison population for drug offenders has risen from ten percent to now over thirty percent of the total prison population. Federal prisons were estimated to hold 179,204 sentenced inmates in 2007; 95,446 for drug offenses.... [tags: narcotics law, legal reform, argumentative]
1822 words (5.2 pages)
- Punishment of Offenders According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in the year 1980 we had approximately 501,900 persons incarcerated across the United States. By the year 2000, that figure has jumped to over 2,014,000 prisoners. The current level of incarceration represents the continuation of a 25-year escalation of the nation's prison and jail population beginning in 1973. Currently the U.S. rate of 672 per 100,000 is second only to Russia, and represents a level of incarceration that is 6-10 times that of most industrialized nations.... [tags: Papers]
1029 words (2.9 pages)
- ... If a Judge had more discretion he could send these non violent offenders to a prison alternative such as, counseling, rehab or, consider a probation period. There have been so many stories of people who have had their lives drastically changed by the mandatory minimum laws. Non violent offenders are rotting away behind bars because these laws tie the hands of judges, and don 't allow them to use their discretion. Weldon Angelos, a california man, was sentenced to 55 years in prison after he was busted for selling marijuana.... [tags: Prison, Mandatory sentencing, Crime]
1528 words (4.4 pages)
- Crimes are committed by all genders, based on gendered traits there are common crimes associated with both male and females. Most violent crimes committed by men are murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, and robbery (LaMance, 2011). Crimes that women offenders often commit are prostitution, murder, theft, and arson. Not all violent crimes are committed by males, many women also commit the same crimes. Nonviolent crimes are committed a lot also such as gambling, prostitution, arson, fraud, and bribery (LaMance, 2011).... [tags: crimes, rape, gender, race]
1544 words (4.4 pages)
- Current Event 2 A Measure to reduce the penalties for several nonviolent crimes from felonies down to misdemeanors will be on the November ballot this fall. This paper will review three different articles about Proposition 47, including an editorial page view about this proposition that is being heralded by many former public safety officials around the state. However, there are numerous concerned people in the state that are not in favor of the passing of this law-changing measure. Surprisingly, the public face for this proposition is a widow, who lost her law enforcement husband at the hands of a twenty-three year old felon.... [tags: Crime, Misdemeanor, Felony, Prison]
1005 words (2.9 pages)
- Boot Camp - Shock Incarceration Programs are Useful In the military, boot camp represents an abrupt, often shocking transition to a new way of life. Discipline is strict and there is an emphasis on hard work, physical training, and unquestioning obedience to authority. The new private is told when to sleep, when to get up and when to eat. He marches with his platoon everywhere he goes such as to meals and to training. Orders must be obeyed instantly and personal liberty is almost nonexistent. By the end of boot camp the new private has become a different person.... [tags: Offenders Alternative Jail Prison]
2293 words (6.6 pages)