Prison Reform

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jhb42
Words 1223
Pages 5
When it comes to the prison system, the majority of Americans only know what they've seen in the movies and on TV. They believe that in prisons only the most dangerous and violent offenders end up locked behind bars for decades. For the most part whatever happens to these individuals in prison is off no concern to them. It’s a society of out of sight, out of mind. What people don't realize is that in reality it is a smaller percentage of inmates that are incarcerated that are violent and dangerous. Twenty-five percent are non-violent illegal immigrants, fifty-five percent are non-violent drug offenders, and about five percent are mental patients, and other types of non-violent crime. (Webb 164) It’s those non-violent inmates are the ones that have rehabilitative opportunities and a chance to re-enter society with a fresh start. But when you lump them all together society see’s them all the same, as violent criminals. So there’s no big push to try to get the system to change. We need prison reform to change these views. It’s necessary so that the nonviolent inmates can receive lighter sentences and also be separated from violent inmates so they can be reformed.
A majority of these non-violent criminals end up serving equal or longer sentences than those in prison for violent crimes such as rape. That is because the sentencing guidelines, used by the criminal justice system, are very draconic when it comes to drug convictions. It was made this way in hopes of reducing the illegal drug trade in the 90’s, but in fact it’s had no effect and rehabilitative efforts in prison have little effect. For example, based on federal sentencing guidelines. An individual who is a 24 year old middle class media producer, with no violent crime history, is sentenced to 55 years for a third strike marijuana charge (Mauer 702). He is then locked up with the murders, rapist, and violent…...

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