Do prisons deter crime? Considering the recidivism rate, the percentage of former prisoners who are rearrested for a similar offense, of the United States, no, prisons do not deter crime. The recidivism rate of prisoners in the US is 60%, one of the highest rates in the world. Prisons take criminals off the street, but fail to cure their need to commit crimes. Prisons, in a sense, add fuel to the fire. I believe prisoners leave prison in a worse state of mind than they were before they were locked up. Why is this? There are many factors contributing to the problem that America is facing with our prison system. Inmates are improperly grouped by the length of their sentence rather than the crime they committed, and they become extremely violent by the time their sentence is over. Mandatory sentencing causes a lack of judicial discretion; this is sending the wrong people to prison for the wrong amount of time. America’s prisons are very overpopulated. Too much tax money is being spent on prisoners. Prisons should focus more of rehabilitation than incapacitation. Something must be done about the failing prison system in America.
Two thirds of ex-prisoners are re-arrested within three years of being released (Economist). This alone is factual evidence that prisons do not prevent future crime. A person’s probability of being sentenced to prison for an offense jumps an astounding 15% when someone turns 18 (Waldfogel). When a product goes on sale, the sales go up while the competitor’s product’s sales go down. The same reaction does not apply in this situation; crime rates are not reduced. Prisons take criminals off of the streets successfully, but while they are incarcerated, no problem is solved with that individual. Prisons pretty much train criminals to be worse criminals when they are released. Prisons are also ridiculously overpopulated—operating at more than 130% capacity (Economist). 2,293,157 people are currently locked up in state or...
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Salyer, Chad. Personal interview. 9 Oct. 2013
Waldfogel, Joel. "Prison Does Not Deter Crime." America 's Prisons. Noah Berlatsky. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "The Irrational 18-Year-Old Criminal." Slate. 2007. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.
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