The Effect of Prison in America

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Prison’s Effect on Inmates and the Average Person
Today’s prison system is frequently under scrutiny for the cost it places on taxpayers and state budgets. The increasing number of inmates and prisons is costing more and more money each year as prisons fill to the brim with convicts. The prison system affects more than just taxpayers’ wallets, however. Time spent in prison leaves an ugly scar on the record of every former inmate, making it difficult to fit back into society once they are released. News coverage may expose the effects incarceration has on taxpayers and the economy, but for the most part fails to shed light on the social impact it has on the inmates themselves.

Swelling prison populations and their increasing costs are the focal point of news coverage on incarceration. The cost to build new prisons, hire new guards, and convicts locked up is becoming a major concern. Prison budgets are cutting into more valuable programs such as education: state senators in Colorado are backing a state budget that would spend $9.4 million on a new solitary confinement unit while. This new budget would also “drain a $45.2 million trust fund that provides low-income students with scholarships”. Prison budgets are quickly spiraling out of control, with more and more money being pumped into them each year. The Contra Costa Times states, “California's annual cost per inmate [tops] $40,000, far more

than any other state”, and that prison healthcare is the fastest growing part of the budget, “more than doubling to $2 billion by 2008-09”. Lawmakers are scrambling to come up with budget cuts, but it’s hard to slow down such a fast growing industry. People question How can we be spending more money on inmates than our own children in schools?. However, money isn’t the only issue arising from our prison system. Although increasing costs and deficits are at the forefront of media coverage, the social problems ex-convicts face after incarceration are nothing small...
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