"In the Belly of the Beast" by Jack Abbott Essay example

1907 Words Dec 6th, 2008 8 Pages
“In the Belly of the Beast”
Imagine being 37 years old and spending 25 years of your life locked up, behind bars. “In the Belly of the Beast” is a collection of letters, told by Jack Henry Abbott, which expose the harsh realities of the Americas penal system. In translating Abbott’s experiences, he unveils that the current system has failed to keep dangerous criminals off the streets and that it has proved to be unsuccessful in creating a deterrent for committing crimes. According to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, “State courts in 32 counties across 17 States sentenced 79,000 felons to probation in 1986. Within 3 years of sentencing, while still on probation, 43% of these felons were rearrested for a felony. Half of the
…show more content…
If a riot occurs both prisoners and guards are put in danger (Byrne). With the use of a sufficient rehabilitation program, offenders would be less reluctant to commit crimes and as a result prisons wouldn’t encounter dilemmas with overcrowding.
Jack purposely tried to not conform to the prison life because he knew that if that were to ever occur then he would never live normally in society. Putting an individual on a starvation diet or being sent to a sect of the prison where death row inmates reside destroys all efforts to change Jack into a better person. This could be one of the reasons why when Abbott was released, 6 weeks later was back in jail for murdering waiter/aspiring actor Richard Adan. In the United States alone, approximately $100 billion is spent on the criminal justice system each year. Incarceration costs an average of $25,000 per person annually and each prison cell costs $75,000 to $100,000 to build. And to also note 65 percent of all prisoners re-entering the community will be re-arrested within three years (York). If more money were spend on rehabilitation organizations/programs then acts such as this probably would not have happened.
Abbott probably responds to certain situations in the wrong way because being institutionalized in a cruel environment only makes him a crueler person. Ones life is ultimately shaped around the environment that one

More about "In the Belly of the Beast" by Jack Abbott Essay example

Open Document