Incarceration : Balancing Punishment And Treatment

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4.0 Alternatives to Incarceration Balancing Punishment and Treatment Mass Incarceration In December 2013, President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates who were convicted of nonviolent crack cocaine offenses, six of whom were serving life sentences (Miles 2014). The surge in the prison population of the United States of America can be attributed to changes in sentencing and policies that created stricter laws and harsher punishments for offenders. For the last half-century, America’s attempts to get tough on crime and wage a war on drugs have landed the U.S. the highest spot on the worldwide charts in regards to prison population; only in recent years has the rate of incarceration changed course, tracking a slow, steady downward trail. Incarceration is supposed to be punishment as rehabilitation, yet it has become the primary response to crime. It is simply punishment, greatly lacking in any true form of rehabilitation According to the National Bureau of Justice statistics on recidivism, it was found that within three years of release, about two thirds of released offenders were rearrested; of those rearrested, more than half were rearrested by the end of their first year of release (National Institute of Justice 2014). Most of the inmates are returning inmates, and have been caught in the vicious cycle of the system. Society does little to help reintegrate convicted offenders back into a normal lifestyle, making it difficult to find work and
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