Lowering Incarceration

Topics: Prison, United States / Pages: 9 (2094 words) / Published: Jun 24th, 2013
When thinking of how America is leading the world the number of incarcerated citizens per capita does not come to mind. America is considered to be the greatest country in the world. It is known for its fight for freedom and its triumph in maintaining it. Because of this many Americans take pride in the country they have been apart of shaping just as they should. However, in recent years problems have arisen that have taken some of its beauty away. One of those is the shocking amount of people who are imprisoned. There are several causes for the sudden overpopulation in Americas jails but a problem like this is not only one that is embarrassing to our country but is also one that could possibly be eased with a few minor changes to the United States jail system. In order for there to be a positive change incarceration must be brought to light as an issue instead of being ignored and neglected as it has been in the past. Over the past twenty to thirty years the United States incarceration rate has gradually been climbing to its present day rate of 738 incarcerated citizens per 100,000 in the population. That number is 153% higher than Russia who is 2nd in line with the most imprisoned citizens and a whopping 2000% higher than countries such as Nigeria and Nepal (Hartney 2). The problem with this nations incarceration rate is not due to the amount of crime that goes on, “For some crimes, the US has higher crime rates than other countries, but not at levels that explain the high rates—and costs—of its current use of incarceration” (Hartney 5). The United States is also at fault for having the highest minority incarceration rates having three times as many women imprisoned than any other nation. The minority problem doesn’t stop at the women but Latinos composed 19% of Americas prison population while African Americans make up 41% (“More”). The other potent issue with this problem is that it is not being considered as one and the rates are continuously growing. Jails

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