Breaking the Cycle
South University ENG 1001
Crimes committed by youthful offenders in our nation have gone from a troubling statistic that would have been barely noticed even 25 years ago to a problem of pandemic proportions. The responsibility for this falls on every citizen and we must all bite the bullet and agree to properly fund programs that can help to prevent crime, properly rehabilitate prisoners, and save the youth of our nation at the same time. Youth gangs have existed in various forms since at least the 19th century, although the nature and extent of their activity has evolved over time. Over the past 25 years in particular, gangs have expanded rapidly both in size and their areas of operation. Gangs today are more violent, their activities are more widespread and pervasive, and they are more entrenched within the community. (Cahill, & Hayeslip, 2010)
Some people may be inclined to say “I don’t have any children so this doesn’t affect me” but they would be drastically wrong. As taxpayers we all share the cost of housing youthful and adult offenders. The sooner we are able to stop the cycle of youth crime, the sooner we can work towards helping to rehabilitate these youthful offenders and keep them from going back to prison. Rehabilitation helps reduce the number of repeat offenders who return to jail after being unable to adapt to life outside of jail. The numbers vary from state to state, but the national average shows that almost 65% of the adult prison population is made up of repeat offenders. Over 47% of repeat offenders in prison today committed their first misdemeanor crime before the age of 16, and over 52% committed their first felony offense before the age of 21. ( Stephan, 2004) Many readers are probably thinking that this is simply a part of everyday life and the price we have to pay to keep our streets safe, but have they actually considered what it costs to house all these prisoners? Maybe...
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