The Legitimacy of Prisons

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From coast to coast in America, prisons have become a growing concern; the concern being how well prisons actually work. Over time, the amount of people being caged in our country is increasing. Right now there are approximately seven hundred fourteen out of one hundred thousand people that are imprisoned. Some may argue that prisons keep the criminals off the streets, but did they happen to think that prison is actually teaching them to become a better criminal and hardening their hearts to make them ruthless? Imagine how discharged convicts will behave after they are sent off to the streets with nothing; Nothing is emphasized because when a prisoner is released, they will have no place to go, and no money. In the future, they may lie, cheat, and steal to create a false sense of security. Criminals that are sent to prison are not learning from their mistakes; therefore the prison system does not work.

To add to the concern, the cost of these institutions is devastating to the American taxpayer. “Prisons are an enormously costly failure for controlling and reducing crime. . .” (Rentschler). “A single prison cell with its basic features costs between forty-five thousand and one hundred twenty-five thousand to build. And a single prisoner costs between twelve thousand to thirty thousand dollars each year.” (Rentschler). The costliness of these institutions is of no benefit to society or taxpayers. The funds that are spent on prisons can go to much better resources such as food, shelter, education and other life necessities to the people who need it the most. If food, shelter, and education charities were given the amount of money that prisons are raking in now, there would be a dramatic decrease in crime. With most of their basic needs met, people will no longer have to be criminals to keep their heads above the water trying to keep up with the increasing standard of living. They may even be able to contribute to society, and help others do the same.

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