I believe whether imprisonment works or not depends on each specific case’s victims, offenders, and how the case was handled by the court and prison systems. Imprisonment alone does not work, but combined with other methods like rehab or therapy, it can work. Locking away a prisoner and throwing away the key does not help society. Although it does accomplish one of the goals of punishment, incapacitation, imprisonment does not work. I think that imprisonment is overused, especially in the United States. We have the highest incarceration rate today. Americans represent 5% of the world’s population but we house 25% of the entire world’s inmates.
Age should be a huge factor in what types of criminal offenders should be locked up versus other types of penalties. Prisoners do not have the rigorous rehabilitation that is needed to turn youth into productive members of society. Incarceration is ineffective in controlling the behavior of youth due to the unfinished development of the brain and is therefore not a good deterrent. There are far more consequences, like a high recidivism rate, when young people are put into prison. Incarceration does not teach the skills necessary to be a successful member in their community.
Fines are a good punishment for less-serious offenses especially committed by first-time offenders. An example would be for traffic violations. For a more serious offense or if the defendant already has a record, a fine and another form of punishment like community service or probation should be combined with a fine. Incarceration should be the last resort. An instance when this should be used is for a second underage drinking charge or caught with a decent amount of marijuana. It should be taken into account if a defendant has mental issues, an addiction, or previous traumatic event and to seek a rehabilitating way to help while dealing with their punishment. Although a long imprisonment may seem ideal for victims, the rights and justice due to...
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