Disparities in Prison Populations Essay

910 Words 4 Pages
DISPARITIES IN PRISON POPULATIONS
Although we would like to believe the world is not as racially charged in 2013 as it was in the 1960s, a look in our penal system would show that minorities are still arrested and incarcerated at a higher rate than whites. The United States has experienced a rise in its prison population over the last 40 years and our incarceration rate is nearly 5 times higher than any other country. Even though 13% of the US population are African American males, they make up 38% of the prison population. Contributing factors to these numbers are mandatory minimum sentences, high crime and poverty areas, and lack of rehabilitative resources within our system (p.77-78).
In the 1980s, the United States started a
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Minorities in these urban areas have a hard time finding employment that could support their family efficiently. Most end up dropping out of school and join or are forced to join gangs. They are more likely to turn to crime as a means of survival which increases their chances of building a criminal history. This type of criminal activity also ties back into the Three Strikes Law (Nicosia, MacDonald, & Arkes. 2013) which states that the offender will be incarcerated on their third offense, no matter how minor the charge. The lack of rehabilitative resources in the criminal justice system leads to repeat offenders also. Although it should not be the responsibility of those in society who are doing the right thing to pay for services for those who are incarcerated, we are doing ourselves an injustice if we don’t. If we are not providing rehabilitative classes, vocational/job training, or some type of counseling while prisoners are incarcerated, we are defeating the purpose of locking them up. Criminal justice referrals account for almost 37% of drug treatment admissions (Nicosia, MacDonald, & Arkes. 2013. p. 78). If we don’t address the issues that got them incarcerated in the first place, they will turn back to the only life they know that provided fast money. I…