Prison Reform

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Reforming The Prison System
For my research paper, I am going to look at the prison system and what could be done to improve it. The prison system affects the lives of millions whether it is by housing them for a crime they committed, employing them, located near their home or school, or through the relationship of a family member. The prison system also affects people through competing for government funds. The prison system nationwide on average is responsible for spending $52 billion through general funds, special funds and bonds, and federal government money (PEW 11). This money could be given to support education, health care, and housing in the community but is used in the housing and care of criminals.

According to Senator James Webb the United States has the world’s highest prison population and return rate. The 2.3 million incarcerated in the U.S. make up one percent of the adult population (PEW 4). I am inclined to wonder if all of these inmates are a danger to society and do they really need to be in the criminal justice system using up tax dollars. A restructure of the way we look at the true criminal could save the system a great deal of money. Webb has found disturbing statistics about the American prison systems. He notes that since 1984 the prison population quadrupled (PEW 11). The United States has 25% of the world’s prisons (Littau 3). This could make a visitor think we have a bunch of murderous individuals in the U.S. I seem to think we just put everyone who commits a crime in prison; dangerous or not. Webb says most of the incarcerated are drug offenders not murderous. The drug offenders make up 52.4% of the prison system (Littau 1). This is a non-violent crime. Do we really need the place them in prison and spend $29,000.00 per year to house and care for them (PEW 12). I believe that if one looks into the prison system today a justifiable argument can be made regarding money spent for criminals. Managing offenders in the community...
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