Good Essays
March 20 2014

Gang Violence and Harsh Penalties
The presence of gang violence has plagued the United States for many years. Although it is more active in some parts of the country than others, gang violence affects every American: either monetarily as a taxpayer or directly as a victim. Regardless, it is a concern of every individual; therefore, the criminal justice system has been addressing it for years in different ways. The approach of emphasizing harsh punishments has been implemented for quite some time now and it remains to be an accepted tactic. Despite its popularity, the implementation of harsh punishments has been shown to be counterproductive. It continues to spread ignorance, which is eluded by politicians and the
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Media had delivered this false idea that harsh penalties would decrease violent crimes which pushes politicians to make tougher laws. During Reagan and Bush presidency, they implemented get-tough policies against crime that resulted in hash punishment (Elias, 1994). Politicians are in favor of get-tough policies but yet crime are still in the rise and citizens are still live in fear of being a victim of crime violence (Elias, 1994). Despite politicians and media’s constant claims that tougher punishments are the solutions to gang violence, but in reality, it is distracting people from pursuing the real solution. As a response to the “war on gangs”, sentencing enhancements, a form of harsher punishments, was developed by lawmakers. Policies were created to lengthen sentences of gang members (Hagedorn and Chesney-Lind, 2013). Additional amount of prison time would be given to criminals who are in gangs. The increase of harsh penalties has lead to mass incarceration of gang members in America prisons, which evidently resulted to the gang’s dominance of the prisons’ subculture and, making gangs the most powerful force in prisons (Hagedorn and Chesney-Lind, 2013). Mass incarcerations instigates other controversies such as racial profiling which continues to increase the gap between Americans. Nonetheless, gang members are taking prison less
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