For many years, drugs have been the center of crime and the criminal justice system in the United States. Due to this widespread epidemic, President Richard Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” in 1971 with a campaign that promoted the prohibition of illicit substances and implemented policies to discourage the overall production, distribution, and consumption. The War on Drugs and the U.S. drug policy has experienced the most significant and complex challenges between criminal law and the values of today’s society. With implemented drug polices becoming much harsher over the years in order to reduce the overall misuse and abuse of drugs and a expanded federal budget, it has sparked a nation wide debate whether or not they have created more harm than good. When looking at the negative consequences of these policies not only has billions of dollars gone to waste, but the United States has also seen public health issues, mass incarceration, and violent drug related crime within the black market in which feeds our global demands and economy. With this failed approach for drug prohibition, there continues to be an increase in the overall production of illicit substances, high rate of violence, and an unfavorable impact to our nation.
The United States has the world's highest incarceration rate. With five percent of the world's population, our country houses nearly twenty-five percent of the world's reported prisoners. Currently there are approximately two million people in American prisons or jails. Since 1984 the prison population for drug offenders has risen from ten percent to now over thirty percent of the total prison population. Federal prisons were estimated to hold 179,204 sentenced inmates in 2007; 95,446 for drug offenses. State prisons held a total of 1,296,700 inmates in 2005; 253,300 for drug offenses. Sixty percent of the drug offenders in prisons are nonviolent and were purely in prison because of drug offenses (Drug War Facts). The question then arises,
For over centuries, the only form of punishment and discouragement for humans is through the prison system. Because of this, these humans or inmates, are sentenced to spend a significant part of their life in a confined, small room. With that being said, the prison life can leave a remarkable toll on the inmates life in many different categories. The first and arguably most important comes in the form of mental health. Living in prison with have a great impact on the psychological part of your life. For example, The prison life is a very much different way of life than what us “normal” humans are accustomed to living in our society. Once that inmate takes their first step inside their new society, their whole mindset on how to live and communicate changes. The inmate’s psychological beliefs about what is right and wrong are in questioned as well as everything else they learned in the outside world. In a way, prison is a never ending mind game you are playing against yourself with no chance of wining. Other than the mental aspect of prison, family plays a very important role in an inmate’s sentence. Family can be the “make it or break it” deal for a lot of inmates. It is often said that “when a person gets sentenced to prison, the whole family serves the sentence.” Well, for many inmates that is the exact case. While that prisoner serves their time behind bars, their family is on the outside waiting in anticipation for their loved ones to be released. In a way, the families
Prisons hide prisoners from society. “If an inmate population is shut in, the free community is shut out, and the vision of men held in custody is, in part, prevented from arising to prick the conscience of those who abide by the social rules” (Sykes, 1958, 8). The prison is an instrument of the state. However, the prison reacts and acts based on other groups in the free community. Some believe imprisonment
Drug courts are specialised programs aimed at criminal offenders who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction (US Department of Justice, 2015, p.1). Drug courts improve offenders’ quality of life by decreasing substance dependency and improve mental wellbeing. Jane Lee, for the Age, explains people facing jail for drug and alcohol charges may be placed on a two-year treatment order, instead of serving jail time. The purpose of a drug court is to secure and maintain drug users in treatment, reduce non-violent incarceration rates and recidivism among prior offenders (Belenko, 1998, p.6).
The incarcerated population are typically of low socioeconomic and low education levels. (4) Interestingly, low socioeconomic status and education levels on their own are directly linked with poor health. (5) When these social determinants of health are combined with prisonisation; the adaptation process in which incarcerated individuals adjust themselves to behavioural standards within the institutions which are not comparable with those of life outside prison.(6) This confines the already vulnerable to an environment of violence and drug use, which leads to further decline in health status while serving sentences. (1) In addition to the low socioeconomic status and education level of prison inmates, we can also establish that inmates are predominately male when compared to the
In the 1970s and 1980s, a massive amount of inmates began fillin up the United States prison systems. This huge rate of growth in this short amount of time, has greatly contributed to the prison overcrowding that the United States faces today. In fact, the prisons are still filled to the seams. This enormous flood of inmates has made it practically impossible for prison officials to keep up with their facilities and supervise their inmates. One of the main reasons why many prisons have become overcrowded is because of states’ harsh criminal laws and parole practices (Cohen). “One in every 100 American adults is behind bars, the highest incarceration rate in the world” (Cohen). The amount of inmates in corrections systems, throughout the
The War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration have been two very well-known topics of society. While these have taken place during the Cold War, there is still a continuance in them today. The impact that has been left on society from these issues have stuck around, while mass incarceration is still of talk today.
Incarceration is immense in the United States. Since the 1980s, the United States has experienced a massive increase in incarceration. The overall rate has increased from 139 prisoners per hundred thousand US
Drug abuse is shown to be connected to all different kinds of crime in the United States, and in many circumstances, crime is inspired by drug abuse and addiction. In fact, 80% of criminal offenders abuse drugs or alcohol (National Association of Drug Court Professionals). Also, 60% of those who are arrested test positive for illicit drugs when they are arrested, and 60-80% commit another crime, typically drug-related, after leaving prison (National Association of Drug Court Professionals). And, even after these individuals put in the time in prison that would allow them to go through the uncomfortable process of detoxing, 95% of them will chose to go back to drug abuse after prison (National Association of Drug Court Professionals). Given these overwhelming statistics, it is clear that drug abuse, and repeated or continued drug abuse, are a serious problem facing the criminal justice system.
Throughout U.S governmental history, policies have been known to affect the way of life and every aspect. The topic it choose to research is about “The War on Drugs”, the impact policies have on society and if it does help the public or tend to extent social inequality. This topic is very important to me in the sense that, I look at the community I live and see how drugs have affected people lifes, broken up families and also destroyed the community itself. I wanted to know if the “war on drugs” stop our neighborhood from being flooded with drugs or it just over shadow the real problems that needs to be tackled.
The United States Correctional System is often challenged as to whether it wants to rehabilitate drug offenders or punish them, and because of this it mostly does neither. Even though drug abuse and drug trafficking are widely spread national issues, the mental, social, and economic costs of "healing" through incarceration are only making the "disease" worse. Never before have more prisoners been locked up on drug offenses than today. Mixed with the extremely high risks of today's prison environment, the concept of incarceration as punishment for drug offenders cannot be successful. Without the correct form of rehabilitation through treatment within Michigan's Correctional System, drug
Those incarcerated today are not given the chance to change their behavior patterns, especially when it is in regard to drug addiction. The criminal justice system in general does not consider drug abuse as anything but a crime and does not think about treating the disease of addiction in order to reduce or eliminate the crimes that come as a
“The history of correctional thought and practice has been marked by enthusiasm for new approaches, disillusionment with these approaches, and then substitution of yet other tactics”(Clear 59). During the mid 1900s, many changes came about for the system of corrections in America. Once a new idea goes sour, a new one replaces it. Prisons shifted their focus from the punishment of offenders to the rehabilitation of offenders, then to the reentry into society, and back to incarceration. As times and the needs of the criminal justice system changed, new prison models were organized in hopes of lowering the crime rates in America. The three major models of prisons that were developed were the medical, model, the community model, and the crime