Essay about America’s Prisons and Their Effects On Society

1529 Words 7 Pages
Every civilization in history has had rules, and citizens who break them. To this day governments struggle to figure out the best way to deal with their criminals in ways that help both society and those that commit the crimes. Imprisonment has historically been the popular solution. However, there are many instances in which people are sent to prison that would be better served for community service, rehab, or some other form of punishment. Prison affects more than just the prisoner; the families, friends, employers, and communities of the incarcerated also pay a price. Prison as a punishment has its pros and cons; although it may be necessary for some, it can be harmful for those who would be better suited for alternative means …show more content…
G., & Greene, J., 2006).

“In 2007, one percent of American adults were in prison, which is by far the highest incarceration rate in the world.”( Trachtenberg, B., 2009). Why? Trachtenberg believes it’s because prisons do not rehabilitate people. A violent criminal is sent to prison because he is a threat to society. He is supposed to serve a lengthy term so that he will learn his lesson and become a productive member of society. During his time there he is supposed to learn to appreciate work by cooking, doing laundry, or some other prison job. While he is there he can receive his GED so that he can get a job when he gets out. This plan has good intentions but it has been proven to be ineffective.
First off, the time this violent offender is supposed to serve will most likely be cut short due to overcrowding. “Prisons in America today are operating with a population between 117% and 137% of their intended capacity”( Muhlhausen, D. B., Dyer, C. C., McDonough, J. R., et al., 2006). Even though budget cuts are forcing prisons to be closed, all the prisoners in those prisons cannot be released; they have to be crammed into the remaining prisons to the point where there is simply no more room. Obviously there will always be people breaking the law, so just because the prisons are full does not mean that there are not new people who need to be brought in. Therefore, if 50 prisoners are brought in that means 50 prisoners must be…