Angela Davis Prison Article

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Injustice in the Prison System
In American society today, nonviolent offenders are prosecuted in much the same way violent offenders are. In California our justice system uses the three strikes law, which means habitual offenders; no matter the nature of the crime receive mandatory extended jail sentences after their second offense. While these crimes which they commit are wrong, the harm they inflict upon society is very low, hence the ratio of punishment to crime should be much lower. Using these ideals the prison system becomes overcrowded with nonviolent individuals such as drug addicts and shoplifters. Therefore the prisons move away from being rehabilitation centers, and become merely a place to hold those deemed as convicts until their sentences are up. This situation creates both an injustice for the people wrongly incarcerated, and for those who are inside to be re-assimilated into society at the end of their stay. To end this problem, alternatives to jail must be found for nonviolent crimes such as shoplifting and drug use.

By placing nonviolent offenders into the prison system for prolonged periods of time society adds to the problem of prisons acting as long term babysitters instead of rehabilitation centers. This in turn has many ill effects in regards to the greater good of society. Angela Davis, an advocate against the prison system states “Given the recent emergence of supermaximum-security prisons … in general which are being divested of educational, recreational, and other programs historically associated with rehabilitation projects.” To accommodate the ever growing prison populations, funding has been cut from rehabilitation projects, and placed into filling the prisons up to capacity. By simply reducing the sentences of those convicts who are inside for nonviolent crimes this process could be avoided altogether and society would be far better off in the long run. Those convicts who would remain inside the prisons would be able to...
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