Research Paper (America's Prisons)

Topics: Crime, Prison, Criminal justice Pages: 5 (1945 words) Published: January 23, 2014

Research Paper
America’s prisons have a major importance in modern society. They are a huge contributing factor to the safety of our country and allow for proper and humane punishment for those who commit crimes. While America’s streets continue to be plagued by crime and dangerous people, prisons help significantly in decreasing the crime rate and removing those people from society in order to create a safer place for people to live. Although there are many pros that come with prisons, a handful of cons come with them as well, which allow for arguments to rise about whether prisons should be allowed in America or not. Prisons are a necessity in modern society that punishes and rehabilitates those who commit crimes with the purpose of protecting the rest of society, however, they come with many problems such as overcrowding, lack of resources, cost, and brutality which all must be accepted, for America’s prisons help keep our society safe and a better place to live. Prisons have been around since the beginnings of recorded human history. Crime is inevitable whenever there is civilization and in order to control it, the idea of punishment in the form of removal from society came to mind and therefore caused the creation of the first prisons. Hammurabi’s Code was among the first written set of laws and restrictions. Andy Hjelmeland stated, “Citations from the code of Hammurabi, one of the first legal codes in history, drawn up nearly 4000 years ago in Babylon, illustrate the ancient view of punishment: 200. If a man knock out the tooth of another man, they shall knock out his tooth” (Hjelmeland 15). These were some of the examples of the laws that were in place during ancient times. Next were medieval prisons – colonial times, another harsh point in history. Hjelmeland also stated, “Torture and mutilation have also been routinely used in punishing criminals” (Hjelmeland 16). Torture and mutilation were very common during these times and most people feared them. Intimidation was a way to hopefully decrease ongoing crime rates in society. Hjelmeland also wrote, “During the age of discovery, the maritime powers of Europe established colonies around the globe. Banishment to one of these faraway lands became another way of punishing criminals. England shipped convicts to colonial America and Australia; Spain sent criminals to Hispaniola (the island now occupied by Haiti and the Dominican Republic)” (Hjelmeland 16). In modern times, prisons are needed to keep crime off the street and helps keep our streets safe although there are still many problems that continue to be overlooked. Another fact Hjelmeland stated is, “Prisons are certainly more lenient and humane than in the past. One contributing factor in recent years has been intervention by the courts. A series of court rulings has granted constitutional protection to prisoners” (Hjelmeland 24). Prisons today still suffer from problems, but overall have improved allowing for more humane punishment. Crime in America is becoming increasingly more common. As crime rates grow, so do the number of prisons that are used to control it. Timothy Williams stated, “Violent crime rose in the United Sates in 2012 for the first time in six years, led by an increase in major crimes in large cities” (Williams par.1). As crime grows in America, the danger of our cities does as well for most crimes occur in populated suburban areas. Williams said, “The largest increases took place in cities with populations of between 500,000 and one million people, where violent crime rose by 3.7 percent, including a 12.5 percent spike in murder rates” (Williams par. 2). Crimes that occur in areas of large populations are especially dangerous due to the fact that it puts a large amount of people in danger. The author also said, “The last year in which violent crime rose nationally was 2006, when the rate went up by 1.9 percent. Before that, from 1996 to 2005, violent crime had declined by 17.6 percent,...
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