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Life On The Outside : The Prison Odyssey Of Elaine Bartlett

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Over the last half-century, the United States has turned more and more frequently to the use of incarceration as a form of punishment. Sentencing policies and stricter laws requiring mandatory minimums for certain offenses, no matter the conditions of the offense, have boosted the incarceration rate in this country to staggering heights. The typical issues that affect America’s prison systems are reflected in Jennifer Gonnerman’s book, Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett. Elaine Bartlett’s life, along with the lives of surrounding family and friends, is forever changed by her 16 years of incarceration. Elaine Bartlett is only one of many Americans that have been wronged by the cruel and unusual punishments implemented by a society claiming to have a fair, balanced, and equal justice system. A fair and balanced justice system that convicts people who carries the right amount of drugs in weight to have a mandatory incarceration for a minimum of 15 years to life, yet those who commit murder or rape may receive a lesser sentence. There is also the issue of transitioning back into society after being incarcerated for so many years. Incarceration does not just punish the offender; the offender’s family and friends are also negatively affected by the conviction and imprisonment of a loved one. Children could be put in the system or need to be raised by other members in the family. This could lead the children to deviate down the same path as their parent who
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